New approaches to understanding and regulating primary and secondary illegal firearms

GVPedia Study Database

New approaches to understanding and regulating primary and secondary illegal firearms

Category: Firearm Policies, Gun Markets|Journal: US Department of Justice (full text)|Author: A Braga, G Pierce, G Wintemute, M Dolliver|Year: 2013

The major objective of this study is to enhance understanding of the characteristics and regulation of primary and secondary illegal firearms markets. The study has two major components: 1) a national study of illegal firearm markets based on ATF firearm trace data for all firearms recovered by law enforcement between 2003 and 2006, and 2) a California focused study based ATF traced firearms recovered in California between 2003 and 2006 that were crossed referenced with California Dealer Record of Sale (DROS) data to yield information on the last-known purchaser of a firearm.

The national study was designed to:

  • Develop an enhanced understanding of illegal firearms markets using ATF trace data
  • Assess the potential impact of State firearm laws on firearms trafficking using ATF trace data

The California analysis was designed to:

  • Enhance the tactical and strategic value of firearms trace data by tracing crime-related guns to last-known dealers/purchasers
  • Improve our overall understanding of illegal secondary markets

The national study found that the stringency of state level firearms laws and regulations on time-to-crime and, in the case of California, the regular enforcement of state regulations lead to consistently longer time-to-crime for firearms recovered within their jurisdictions. These patterns persist for whether firearms were purchased within the recovery jurisdiction or in another state. With the addition, of other potential indicators of time-to-crime into the analysis, the effect of firearm laws is mediated in a manner that conforms to the expectations of how firearms regulations can operate to control the illegal distribution guns. Specifically, when dealer related variables are entered into the overall model of time-to-crime the effects of states with more stringent laws and regulations are reduced more than states without such laws, as would be expected given that state firearms laws and regulations should work through their regulation on dealers. In addition, a number of other potential determinants of time-to-crime have effects on time-to-crime that indicate they are potentially useful indicators of illegal firearms trafficking.

The California analysis compared illegal firearm market characteristics using information from ATF trace data (based primarily on first-time, retail-sourced information) with illegal firearms market characteristics based on ATF trace data updated with California DROS information. This comparison revealed that including information on the last known purchaser of a firearm significantly reduced the median time-to-crime of California-sourced crime guns relative to time-to-crime calculations based on standard ATF trace data. This finding indicates that guns sometimes move very rapidly from subsequent market transactions to use in crime. These finding suggest that enhanced firearm trace data can be very useful in guiding law enforcement actions against gun traffickers and criminals directly acquiring firearms through secondary market sources.

Verified by MonsterInsights