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STREET CRIME AND NEW GUNS - SOME IMPLICATIONS FOR FIREARMS CONTROL

NCJ Number
37112
Journal
Journal of Criminal Justice Volume: 4 Issue: 2 Dated: (SUMMER 1976) Pages: 95-107
Author(s)
F E ZIMRING
Date Published
1976
Annotation
THE REPORT PRESENTS EVIDENCE IN SUPPORT OF THE 'NEW GUNS' HYPOTHESIS AND DISCUSSES SOME IMPLICATIONS OF THE DATA FOR CRIMINOLOGICAL THEORY AND FIREARMS CONTROL POLICY ANALYSIS.
Abstract
THE 'NEW GUNS' HYPOTHESIS WAS A PRODUCT OF GUN-TRACING EFFORTS INITIATED BY THE FEDERAL BUREAU OF ALCOHOL, TOBACCO AND FIREARMS IN 1973. THIS FIRST MASS TRACE OF GUNS SEIZED BY THE POLICE IN NEW YORK CITY REVEALED THAT A DISPROPORTIONATE PERCENTAGE OF THE HANDGUNS HAD BEEN SOLD TO A RETAIL CUSTOMER IN THE RELATIVELY RECENT PAST. THE REPORT'S FIRST SECTION DESCRIBED AN ATTEMPT TO REPLICATE THE STUDY CONDUCTED IN NEW YORK CITY. DATA ARE PRESENTED ON THE AGE OF CONFISCATED HANDGUNS IN EIGHT CITIES LOCATED IN MAJOR REGIONAL AREAS IN THE U.S. THE TABLES SHOW A STRIKING INTERCITY CONSISTENCY; ALL CITIES SHOW NEWER HANDGUNS DOMINATING THE CONFISCATION STATISTICS. DIFFICULTIES SAMPLING AND OTHER PROBLEMS WITH THE DATA ARE DISCUSSED; HOWEVER, THE BASIC, NEAR UNIFORM 'NEW GUNS' PATTERN IS ESTABLISED. THE SECOND SECTION CONSIDERS THE USES OF DATA ON CONFISCATED HANDGUNS IN RESEARCH AND POLICY PLANNING AND DISCUSSES SOME POLICY IMPLICATIONS OF THE STUDY. CENTRAL TERMS ARE FIRST DEFINED. THE DATA'S USES IN RESEARCH INCLUDE THE FOLLOWING: THE EVALUATION OF EFFORTS TO REDUCE GUN TRAFFIC INTO JURISDICTIONS THAT INTRODUCE LOCAL FIREARMS CONTROL PROVISIONS; THE TESTING OF THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE INFLUX OF NEW GUNS AND VARIATIONS IN GUN-RELATED CRIMES; AND EXPLORATION OF THE IMPACT OF GUN INTRODUCTION RATES ON THE RATE AND CHARACTER OF VIOLENT CRIME IN THE CITIES. A DISCUSSION OF POSSIBLE POLICY IMPLICATIONS CONSIDERS: (1) THE POPULATION OF RISK HANDGUNS IN THE U.S., (2) THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN STREET GUNS AND CRIME GUNS; AND (3) THE LIKELY IMPACT OF FLUCTUATIONS IN CURRENT RATES OF HANDGUN INTRODUCTION ON FUTURE RATES OF GUN CRIME. THE DIFFICULTIES IN DRAWING VALID CONCLUSIONS FROM THE STUDY'S IMPERFECT DATA ARE STRESSED. THE AUTHOR RECOMMENDS INCREASED RESEARCH IN THIS AREA WITH IMPROVED DATA GATHERING METHODS. NOTES, REFERENCES, AND SUPPORTING DATA ARE PROVIDED. (VDA)