Study Shows Criminals Buy Guns on the Street to Avoid Gun Shows and Internet Sales

Let me start by directing you to the disclaimer at the bottom. Although I most often refrain, some of this (in my personal opinion) may be worthy of a bit of “my personal opinion.” That way, you can feel free to agree or excoriate (criticize severely) me in the comments section as you see fit. obama-capture Most likely, this is only news to politicians and the gun control advocates. In truth, they already know and simply choose to ignore the fact that criminals are not running out in droves to “gun shows and the internet” as several prominent politicians, and gun control advocates claim.

“We flood communities with so many guns that it is easier for a teenager to buy a Glock than get his hands on a computer or even a book.” ~President Obama, remarks at memorial service in Dallas, July 12, 2016 for slain Dallas police officers killed by sniper fire on July 7 “There are neighborhoods where it’s easier for you to buy a handgun and clips than it is for you to buy a fresh vegetable.” ~President Obama, March 2015 “The Supreme Court is wrong on the Second Amendment. And I am going to make that case every chance I get.” ~Hillary Clinton, Private Event in New York, New York, September 2015 “I stand in support of this common-sense legislation to license everyone who wishes to purchase a gun. I also believe that every new handgun sale or transfer should be registered in a national registry.” ~Hillary Clinton, First Lady of the United States 2000

The effectiveness of gun control? Let’s ask the criminals!

new study out of Chicago (Chi-raq, murder capital) confirms, yet again, that most criminals who use guns do not buy them legally. Well, color me shocked! A bad actor with criminal intent that intentionally refuses to follow the law when buying a gun. If only there was a law against that… It is as easy for me to claim the anti-gunners have an agenda as it is for them to claim I am biased. However, it is hard to refute the inmates of the Cook County jail in Chicago IL. Recently, the University of Chicago Crime Lab conducted a survey of the inmates. The purpose was to gain insight as to where the inmates obtained their guns. This survey participant only included inmates facing gun charges or those with criminal backgrounds involving gun crimes.

I was not surprised, and likely, you will not be at the results either. The survey showed the inmates overwhelmingly preferred to get their guns through connections on the streets as opposed to going through legal channels such as gun shows or the internet. Harold Pollack, the crime lab co director said:

“Some of the pathways [regarding guns] people are concerned about don’t seem so dominant. Very few inmates indicated using gun shows or the internet. Rather, they get the guns in undetectable ways on the street. The inmates know they run the risk of being caught by police but “were less concerned about getting caught by the cops than being put in the position of not having a gun to defend themselves and then getting shot.”

05 itshouldnotbecalledguncontrol Hmmm… People who are less concerned with the ramifications of going through the legal system than being shot… Does, “I’d rather be tried by 12 than carried by six.” ring any bells here? I would not defend the lawless, but at some point, many law abiding would be forced to come to that very same conclusion if the gun control crowd had its way.

Survey Takeaways

The majority of inmates in the study claimed they prefer handguns for both illegal activities and personal protection.

  • Most of the study participants said they preferred to get rid of their gun after about one year. The purpose was to minimize the chance of being associated with the gun and later being convicted of a crime that was committed using the illegally purchased weapon.
  • The guns are often circulated between criminals to be used in multiple crimes by different people. This is especially true within the gang culture.
  • What should be of interest to the anti-gun politicians were the inmates’ claims that they use personal connections, gang affiliations, and allegedly corrupt law enforcement to purchase guns. (Personally, I am a strong supporter of law enforcement and believe they are the scapegoat for far too many things. However, if this claim came up very often by criminals incarcerated for crimes involving a firearm, it should be taken seriously and investigated to identify and arrest the bad apples or exonerate the falsely accused.)

Study Conclusion

The primary conclusion of the study showed the majority of criminals seldom, if ever, purchase firearms through gun stores, gun shows, or via the internet. Most would not pass the background check. Even more likely, the rest would not pass the smell test. I’ve spent more than a few hours on both sides of the gun counter. I have gone to my boss and stopped the sale of more than one firearm. I’ve seen other shops refuse the sale or transfer to others.

When something does not feel right due to the customer’s actions, questions or statements, etc., the alarm bell often rings and appropriate action is taken. The effectiveness of actions such as these from firearm retailers and the current background check system (I hear the cries of those who believe this to be an unconstitutional act), demonstrates the laws we have on the books are not the problem and criminals are unaffected by current or future legislation that would seek to further infringe on the Second Amendment. More regulation at this point would only harm the law-abiding citizens seeking to exercise their Second Amendment rights, something the criminal class seems to be able to do quite easily.

So, what is your take?  Which points did I nail and which ones do I need to be taken to the woodshed for a good thrashing? I want to hear your (the readers’) viewpoints and opinions.

[disclaimer] [dave]

The Mission of Cheaper Than Dirt!'s blog, The Shooter's Log, is to provide information—not opinions—to our customers and the shooting community. We want you, our readers, to be able to make informed decisions. The information provided here does not represent the views of Cheaper Than Dirt!

Comments (21)

  1. Screw this “political BS” pf Democrat and Republican, they do vnot run nation ;;theyvplaybpoltics and do not “Govern”
    They of both lables have powers far outside Condtitutional limits ; withb members holding unamerican fascist socialist mentalities; time to bpot them out from jiding behindbpatty smoke screens and elect those of Repubic Representative Government replace them.
    In othr words, ee voters needvto elect Americans once again.

  2. This whole thing about so called “gun control” is already a muted point from its very beginnings. And it’s a redundant, ad nausea um point at best. Who says that a government can’t turn into a criminal enterprise like the common street criminal or mafias? Who says that what happens on a macro (government) level can’t happen on a micro (private citizens) level or vice versa? The same (corrupt) people in government are the same (corrupt) people on the streets, and of course, with one exception, they have the blessings of the corrupt street people to do their bidding. Does any right minded individual think that a common criminal on the streets or in government give a damn about the 2nd Amendment or understand what that means or what it’s for?

    Coming from the stand point of “as above, so below”, one can see clearly, that whether “above or below”, should not make any difference whether one is in power to commit criminal activities or a common street gang taking over the hood. The only difference is the perspective of the scale level of activities being committed.

    Even the criminals themselves fear annihilation as much as the law abiding, otherwise, they would not commit crimes in secrecy. Does one thinks that an unsavory citizen is going to support or elect for an upstanding citizen to be in office? Who says that a court of law can’t be twisted and corrupt? Notice the mentally ill politicians (above) won’t even come near to address their mentally ill constituent (below). But for now, the rest of the other “above and below” people have no choice but to armed themselves until something better comes along. It is what it is.

  3. As a woman and as a moderate liberal I carry everywhere that I am allowed to carry. That said, as a veteran that has served my country thru good times and bad I have some solid beef’s with the way things are going especially when it comes to this topic.

    One being that there seems to be a tendency to lump all Liberal minded folks into the anti-gun camp. BS, I can safely say that many liberal minded folks are not anti-gun fanatics.

    First thing is the gun control crowds back door attempts to set up gun confiscation by restricting ownership of certain types of weapons like AR’s and high capacity magazines and such.
    The law passed in California being the example. We the ones that obey the law fully well know that those who are “criminals” don’t give a crap about them. So we are the ones that suffer from their feel good laws that create even larger problems down the road. Criminals will get their guns from wherever they can. So that brings me to my next ssue. I should have at minimum the chance to defend myself and others in the case of a armed confrontation, more on that in a minute.

    As stated earlier the bulk of the mass shootings in America stem from those who have had access to legally purchased weapons. So how do we prevent this from happening?
    Of course we can’t, they will get a weapon by any means they can. BUT, where do the majority of these shootings take place?

    Gun free zones or at least where they know that there will be less chance of confrontation by a armed citizen or law enforcement. Now with that said, The only way to help cut down on this type of carnage is to allow legally licensed citizens to conceal carry in all venues,

    The armed citizen still has the responsibility to follow the laws associated with carrying and using a weapon in a deadly force confrontation.
    But they by all means need to be licensed to do so in all 50 states under a uniform system. I also feel that they would have to go through a annual training and background check for their license renewal. So how do we accomplish this?
    This could be accomplished at their local Police Department Range. The cost would be minimal because infrastructure is already in place. The citizen would get the required training (both live fire qualification and law updates), the police department could do the background check right then. The license would then be valid in all 50 states.

    Sure this still doesn’t get the illegal guns out of criminal’s hands completely but it sure would help those of us that do follow the law feel more secure about not losing our gun rights and a criminal would be less inclined to confront someone that may be armed and it would get rid of gun free zones which would reduce the opportunities for mass shootings without being challenged.

    1. @Stephanie…glad that you are a gun loving lib. I think if it wasn’t for the fact of liberal, progressive, socialists wanting to restrict/take our gun rights, we probably wouldn’t have to be worried about our God given rights to defend ourselves being taken away or restricted to sticks and stones. Since you are someone who has served our country (thank you. Ex armor myself) you are aware of some of the reasons a person may need or want to have a weapon. But you seem short sighted on one thing. I do favor going through testing and qualifications training for the most part but what happens when a person who gets to an age when it becomes impractical to do serious live fire training whether it be for limited physical mobility or somewhat arthritic hands or whatever the limitation may be. Maybe that person is still able to sit in her/his wheelchair and still be able to defend their self but not be physically able to participate in a formal setting you speak off. Please don’t retort back with “then that person should not be allowed to own a firearm”! Maybe at some point that might be warranted, but who is in charge of making that call!! Big Brother… over my dead body! The other point is, and a more important point, is that maybe liberals should stop voting for politicos that want to take away the very things we need to protect ourselves. We need to be a bit more introspective. Maybe we need to put aside whether we are for opening our borders, having open ended welfare, not properly vetting possible enemies in our immigration policies, having the first and most questionable woman in American history to be the next potus, same sex marriage, LGBT rights to use any latrine they feel comfortable using that particular day…but you get my drift. If we don’t have the right to defend ourselves, then all the aforementioned things above become a moot point. I’m a conservative/independent/libertarianpretty much. And I’m a liberal in the sense of John Locke. Which is not anything close to what Libbie’s are today. God bless America and I voted Trump.

    2. Stephanie, you left out a couple of key points regarding mass shooters. First, most of them have had mental issues and most of them have been affiliated with the Democratic Party in one way or the other. Additionally, if you bother to read any of the NRA journals there are at least 10 incidents in the Armed Citizen column that would indicate people with little firearms training successfully and legally defend themselves daily. I might also add that you can train all you want but if you do not have the will to do what needs to be done all that training can be useless. I refer you to search “Vietnam Vet shoots police officer” on the internet and here you will see a classic case of training vs the will to do what needs to be done. Thanks for your service but I am surprised you left out those points because anyone in combat has witnessed people freeze or purposely miss their targets. Yes?

    3. Stephani, You can call yourself “moderate liberal” all you want, but the fact that you are a proud veteran, supporter of self defense and carry makes you a moderate conservative.

      You believe in something bigger than yourself.

      Thanks for your service.
      Be careful out there.

      RVN ’67-69

  4. Don’t even suggest it! Some naive knuckleheaded lawmaker (from the left side of the aisle) will propose a new law!

    You know what states. The ones that don’t have reciprocity to recognize your state’s carry permit. I try not to go there, and if I MUST, I spend as little time and money there as I can.

  5. unfortunately, it’s the other kind of criminal shooter that is driving gun restrictions: the armed crazy or homegrown terrorist, rather than the ‘career’ street criminal that this study focused on.

    omar mateen, james holmes, aaron alexis, elliot rodger all bought their guns at shops. what’s the best way to put barriers in front of this kind of person while maintaining the rights of the law-abiding?

  6. Not surprised by the conclusions, Dave, but I think it important to emphasize that like the law abiding public, criminals want a gun for protection from criminals. Now that’s a mouth full. What is the number for defensive uses of a gun per year? 500K or 5 million? Does that include uses by criminals in protection of themselves? They have the same right to personal defense though not always able to exercise it due to their exclusionary status.

  7. Wait, what? People who commit armed robbery, armed rape, and armed murder don’t follow the legal system when it comes to purchasing firearms used to commit their crimes? Who knew? Can’t we just pass a law to make it illegal to purchase a gun illegally?

  8. The survey mentioned in this article is something I find amusing, to say the least. Essentially the same thing was done 25-30 years ago, right after I first joined the NRA. I don’t recall the area in which the study was conducted, the university that did the leg work, or if it was local, state or federal prisoners, (otherwise known as crooks), that were used in the survey. Further, as the internet was still very much in its infancy it was not used in the study. However, there were many more gun shops then, as opposed to now. Private sales were still considered legitimate, and of course there were gun shows. Yes that’s right anti-gun boys and girls even way back then, we had gun shows! What I find interesting, is then, as now, criminals DID/DO NOT care about laws, any laws, much less gun laws!

    The results of this survey only bolster the position that more gun laws, gun control, gun legislation, whatever label you wish to use, will not and do not work. Think of all the laws that have been put in place, post the above mentioned survey. Remember to include local ordinances, county and state laws, in addition to federal laws and executive orders. Let’s not forget any court rulings that have been decided also. This adds up to hundreds if not thousands of laws on the books now, that were not present then. Compare the survey from then, to this more current survey. The intent of the questions and the answers are the same.

    Seems to me, if more gun control laws really worked, there would be different questions on those surveys!

  9. Or maybe not! If I tell you that I’m buying my Guns on the Street and NOT at a Gun Show. It’s probably NOT to dry up my Possible Gun Connection Inside the Gun Show. After all STAG Arms got Shut Down for Manufacturing and Distributing Approximately 200 Unregistered, Unserial numbered Guns. They Sold them Somewhere and I really can’t Picture STAG selling them on the Street.

    1. Leveller is correct in that STAG manufactured but failed to serialize a number of long gun receivers HOWEVER Leveller is incorrect in stating those guns were distributed. ATFE confiscated ALL unserialized receivers before they were converted into complete long guns

  10. I am not surprised at the conclusions reached in this study. I attend at least one gun show each month, and my experience has verified that even private exhibitors, while they aren’t required to perform background checks, do require their purchasers to show valid photo ID. AND… rather lengthy record of gun show attendance over several decades shows me that we just don’t see many examples of criminals attempting to even enter the show…..let alone attempt to make a purchase.

  11. I echo Jerry Green’s comment.

    It occurs to me that the individuals who decided to run this study and those who actually talked to the criminals wanted the results to be just the opposite of what they found. I’m surprised that the Chicago Sun Times actually published the article.

    While there certainly is evidence that most criminals aren’t the sharpest knives in the drawer, even if they are lacking 10-20 points in IQ when compared to the average person on the street, they don’t want to go to prison or return to prison (with some very pathetic cases being the exception). Criminals know that background checks are done if you buy a gun from a gun shop or on the internet. The only exception to the background check is the case where a private individual, at a gun show or not, sells a gun to another private citizen both of whom are (a) in a State where private sales are legal, and (b) both are residents of that State. Even in that last case, a law abiding citizen is extremely unlikely to sell to someone they don’t know or can reasonably be sure that they aren’t selling to a criminal.

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