U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

A Comparative Analysis of Crime Guns

NCJ Number
Date Published
October 2017
32 pages
Since information is limited on how firearms move from legal possession to illegal possession and use in criminal activities, largely because of data collection capacity and a lack of recent, exhaustive recovery data across jurisdictions, this article reports on a study that includes both an analysis of firearms trace data and prisoner interviews across multiple jurisdictions (New Orleans, Louisiana; Prince George's County, Maryland; and Chicago, Illinois).
Study findings indicate that crime-gun recoveries and trace successes varied across jurisdictions and by type of crime. Jurisdictional regulations were associated with the proportion of guns purchased in state and time to recovery, but not with purchaser characteristics. Interviews of imprisoned offenders in two jurisdictions revealed that the most common method of obtaining a crime gun was to steal it or buy it off the street. (publisher abstract modified)

Date Published: October 1, 2017