TABLE 4-2 Volume of Firearms Diverted Through Trafficking Channels

Source

N(%)

Total Guns

Mean

Median

Firearms trafficked by straw purchaser or straw purchasing ring

695 (47%)

25,741

37.0

14

Trafficking in firearms by unregulated private sellersa

301 (20%)

22,508

74.8

10

Trafficking in firearms at gun shows and flea markets

198 (13%)

25,862

130.6

40

Trafficking in firearms stolen from federal firearms licensees

209 (14%)

6,084

29.1

18

Trafficking in firearms stolen from residence

154 (10%)

3,306

21.5

7

Firearms trafficked by federal firearms licensees, including pawnbroker

114 (8%)

40,365

354.1

42

Trafficking in firearms stolen from common carrier

31 (2%)

2,062

66.5

16

aAs distinct from straw purchasers and other traffickers.

NOTE: N = 1,470 investigations. Since firearms may be trafficked along multiple channels, an investigation may be included in more than one category. This table excludes 60 investigations from the total pool of 1,530 in which the total number of trafficked firearms was unknown.

SOURCE: Adapted from Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (2000d).

which crime guns travel from legal commerce to its ultimate recovery by law enforcement. BATF also conducts numerous investigations both in the course of monitoring FFL and distributor compliance with regulations and following detection of gun trafficking offenses. Analyses of BATF firearms trafficking investigation data provide insights on the workings of illegal firearms markets (see, e.g., Moore, 1981; Wachtel, 1998). To date, the most representative look at firearms trafficking through a comprehensive review of investigation data was completed by BATF in 2000. This study examined all 1,530 investigations made between July 1996 and December 1998 by BATF special agents in all BATF field divisions in the United States2 (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, 2000d). They involved the diversion of more than 84,000 guns. As indicated in Table 4-2, the study revealed a variety of pathways through which guns were illegally diverted to criminals and juveniles.

2  

This does not include simple Armed Career Criminal or Felon in Possession cases.



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