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Source and Use of Firearms Involved in Crimes: Survey of Prison Inmates, 2016

NCJ Number
Date Published
January 2019
20 pages
Mariel Alper .; Lauren Glaze
Publication Series
Publication Type
Statistics, Report (Technical Assistance), Report (Annual/Periodic)
Based on the 2016 Survey of Prison Inmates (SPI), data are reported on inmates' source and use of firearms they used in their crimes.
About 21 percent of all state and federal prisoners reported that they had possessed or carried a firearm when they committed the offense for which they were in prison. Thirteen percent of all prisoners had used a firearm in their offense by showing, pointing, or discharging it during the offense for which they were imprisoned. Less then 2 percent of all prisoners had obtained a firearm from a retail source and possessed, carried, or used it during their offense. Among the estimated 287,400 prisoners who had possessed a firearm during their offenses, 56 percent had either stolen it (6 percent), found it at the scene of the crime (7 percent), or obtained it off the street or from the underground market (43 percent). Most of the remainder (25 percent) had obtained it from a family member or friend; 7 percent had purchased it under their own name from a licensed firearm dealer. About one in five prisoners who possessed a firearm during their offense obtained it with the intent of using it during the crime. Handguns were the most common type of firearm. Among state prisoners who possessed a gun during their offense, 27 percent killed someone with it; another 12 percent injured someone; 7 percent fired the gun but did not injure anyone; and 54 percent did not fire it. State prisoners with no military service were more likely to possess a gun during their offenses (21 percent) than prisoners who had served in the military (16 percent). 15 tables and 1 figure
Date Created: January 9, 2019