Wednesday, February 06, 2013

National Institute of Justice Firearms Studies

Two technical reports on firearms are made available to the public through the National Criminal Justice Reference:

Authors: Glenn Pierce, Anthony Braga, Garen Wintemute, Matthew Dolliver
This report confirms previous study results demonstrating the usefulness of trace data in policing illicit firearms. The data show that jurisdictions with gun regulations appear to recover fewer illicitly distributed weapons compared to jurisdictions without regulations. The authors present conclusions suggesting more regulation will reduce the availability and distribution of illicit firearms. 
The findings have some limitations. The unit of analysis is limited to guns recovered by law enforcement and submitted to ATF for tracing between 2003-2006, but the system of tracing has changed significantly in recent years. Also, the guns submitted in this study generally are referred to in the report as “crime guns” although the data indicate that more than 75 percent of the weapons in the study were not used directly in the commission of a crime, but were recovered in the process of law enforcement apprehension, investigation or Search & Seizure, buy backs, and other confiscations.

Strategies for Disrupting Illegal Firearms Markets: A Case Study of Los Angeles (pdf, 92 pages)
Authors: Greg Ridgeway, Glenn L. Pierce, Anthony A. Braga, George Tita, Garen Wintemute, Wendell Roberts
Authors' Abstract:

In 2001, with the support of a grant from the National Institute of Justice, RAND initiated a research and program-development effort to understand the nature of illegal gun markets operating in the city of Los Angeles, California. The primary goal of this project was to determine whether a data-driven, problem-solving approach could yield new interventions aimed at disrupting the workings of local, illegal gun markets serving criminals, gang members, and juveniles in Los Angeles.
The authors created a new software tool to help law enforcement analyze patterns in crime-gun data and identify and trace illicit pathways by which criminals acquire guns. Second, the findings were incorporated into an interagency working-group process that developed a community-based intervention designed to disrupt the illegal flow of guns to Los Angeles-area criminals; this intervention may had an impact on straw purchasing. Key participants in the working group included the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives; the Los Angeles Police Department; the U.S. Attorney's Office; state and city prosecutors; academics; and other criminal-justice agencies. Finally, they assessed the utility of retail ammunition-purchase records in identifying prohibited firearm possessors, recommending a cost-benefit analysis on this measure. 

Source: National Institute of Justice (United States)

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