The objective of this study was to determine risk factors among licensed firearm retailers for disproportionate sales of handguns that are later subjected to ownership tracing, generally after use in crime.
The study period was 1998–2003. Cases were all eligible firearm retailers whose handguns were later traced at a rate that significantly (p<0.05) exceeded the expected value. Controls were a 4:1 random sample of the remainder. Data were obtained from sales and tracing records for 1998–2003 and site visits conducted August–December 2004. The study involved 60 cases and 240 controls from the 573 retailers in California selling ⩾ 50 handguns annually during the study period. A number of factors—most of them characteristics of the retailers or of their handgun purchasers, and most of them available in existing data—were linked to disproportionate sales of handguns that are later used in crime. (Publisher abstract provided)