Prisoners Say Where They Got Guns — And It Isn’t At Gun Shows

The Bureau of Justice Statistics recently released a special report entitled Source and Use of Firearms Involved inCrimes: Survey of Prison Inmates, 2016. It reported that 20% of prisoners or 1 in 5 possessed or used a firearm while committing the crime for which they were imprisoned. The numbers go up when a violent crime was involved.

The report goes into great deal on the demographics of the criminal, the crimes involved, and so on. However, what really caught my eye was how they obtained the firearm(s) used in the commission of crime.

From the report:

Among prisoners who possessed a firearm when they
committed the offense for which they were imprisoned
and who reported the source from which they obtained
it, the most common source (43%) was off-the-street or
the underground market (table 5). 

The next most frequent source was “from a friend” at 25.3% followed by “other source” at 17.4% which could include found at the scene of the crime or brought by an accomplice.

Another approximately 10% obtained their firearms at a retail location which includes gun stores, pawn shops, flea markets, and gun shows. Breaking it down, the great majority of these were bought either under the prisoners’s own name or an assumed name with a background check at gun stores and pawn shops. Both of these entities must hold Federal firearms licences.

But what about gun shows?

I hate to break to everyone railing on and on about the gun show loophole but gun shows accounted for only 0.8% of the firearms possessed by these criminals serving time.

Theft rounds out the list at 6.4%.

Tom Gresham made the suggestion on Twitter that you bookmark, copy, and print this report as ammo proving the “gun show loophole” is a fallacy. I agree.


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