Weapons of choice: previous criminal history, later criminal activity, and firearm preference among legally authorized young adult purchasers of handguns

GVPedia Study Database

Weapons of choice: previous criminal history, later criminal activity, and firearm preference among legally authorized young adult purchasers of handguns

Category: Crime, Youth|Journal: The Journal of Trauma (full text)|Author: C Drake, C Parham, G Wintemute, J Beaumont, M Wright|Year: 1998

Objective

To determine whether there is an association between criminal activity and preference for a particular class of handgun among young adults who purchase handguns legally.

 

Design

Historical cohort study.

 

Materials and methods

Subjects were 5,360 authorized purchasers of handguns in California in 1988 who were 21 to 25 years of age, divided into two groups: all eligible purchasers with a previous criminal history (n = 2,765), and a random sample of purchasers with no such history (n = 2,595). Handguns were classified as small and inexpensive or larger and expensive. Associations were assessed by relative risks adjusted for gender and race or ethnicity.

 

Measurements and main results

Handgun purchasers with a previous criminal history were more likely than those without such a history to purchase a small, inexpensive handgun (relative risk (RR) = 1.28; 95% confidence interval (CI), 1.16-1.42). Among handgun purchasers with no previous criminal history, those who purchased a small, inexpensive handgun were more likely than purchasers of other handguns to be charged with new crimes after handgun purchase (RR = 1.73; 95% CI, 1.34-2.24) and were nearly twice as likely to charged with new crimes involving firearms or violence (RR = 1.93; 95% CI, 1.38-2.69).

 

Conclusion

In this population, criminal activity both before and after handgun purchase was associated with a preference for small, inexpensive handguns.

Share