Idle curiousity question on black market guns


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happygeek
October 4, 2010, 04:03 PM
Some are always insisting that we need mandatory reporting of stolen guns, safe storage laws, etc. because guns end up in violent criminals hands from the black market and that the way they ended up on the black market was through theft of a legally owned gun.

I'm thinking that more than a few dudes who make a living selling handguns out of the trunk of their car to people they'd have a reason to suspect are prohibited persons have been caught and their inventory at time of arrest was traced. Surely someone has done a study or the FBI has put out some stats on the results of the trace of said inventory and it's available online somewhere. I plan on Googling later, but was wondering if anyone has a link to a study or FBI stats handy.

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highorder
October 4, 2010, 04:06 PM
I'm thinking that more than a few dudes who make a living selling handguns out of the trunk of their car to people they'd have a reason to suspect are prohibited persons have been caught and their inventory at time of arrest was traced.

I'll concede that. What are you getting at, in lieu of data to support your hunch?

happygeek
October 4, 2010, 05:38 PM
I'm just wondering what the breakdown from the trace after the fence's arrest would look like, you know

X % stolen from individuals
Y % stolen from police
Z % stolen from pawnshops

other sources I'm forgetting about off the top of my head, etc.

nelsonal
October 4, 2010, 06:45 PM
There's a good paper, "Underground Gun Markets" by PJ Cook and others that details the flow of guns into Chicago. I can't find a copy online but you can get one if you have an edu or gov email address, here:
http://www.nber.org/papers/w11737

They found that undergound guns are pretty hard to get and very expensive (a major cost of doing business is establishing trust between the buyer and the seller, think of how gunbroker would work if no one had feedback and you couldn't see more than a few auctions from one seller).

The market is very small, only about 1400 sales in a couple of projects housing about 50,000 people but 1 million cocaine sales. The average broker sold about 16 guns in a year, which wasn't enough be a sole living (in one of the author's books, he was surprised at how many different hustles everyone did for their income, very few residents of these projects had only a single job/business).

Ammo is even harder to get than guns, the paper is from 2008 (and data collection pre-2003, but one transaction had 9mm going for $5 per round! Very few of the gun brokers also sold ammo. Of 80,000 arrests in Chicago firearms charges, only about 4% included ammo charges. In addition, many of the younger owners have no idea, except test fitting cartridges in their gun, how to tell if a given round works. I suspect underground firearms appear to be frequently used for defensive intimidation, given the rarity of ammunition.

They never mention sources, but given the ages reported (30% more than 20 years old), I'd suspect many of the guns predated the Chicago firearms ban. ATF traces only hit on 57% of the guns, and only about half of the hits were from Illinios firearms dealers.

leadcounsel
October 4, 2010, 06:52 PM
The UK has almost completely prohibited private firearm ownership. All guns are registered and traced, and have been for a decade.

Yet the UK has a MASSIVE illegal black market gun trade. Go figure.

It is a naive illusion and frankly a waste of time and taxpayer money to register and track guns. And I think an illegal/unconstitutional tax to force gun owners to pay for it.

Why register guns when there are thousands of dangerous implements that are not registered?

Frankly, we need LESS gun laws and registration, not more.

And lets NOT ignore the REAL purpose. Registration is DANGEROUSLY close to CONFISCATION. Once you have a seemingly easy course of registration and tracking, it only takes an anti-gun nudge, a politicial that wants votes, to go for confiscation with these handy registration and tracking databases....

JohnBT
October 4, 2010, 08:15 PM
"many of the younger owners have no idea"

Speaking of ammo, many years ago a friend called the police about some kids (15-year-olds?) standing in the middle of the street raising heck in the middle of the night over what appeared to be some old revolver and where they could get some bullets.

This was in downtown Richmond, she lived in a newly renovated apartment over an art gallery.

By the time the cops arrived the kids had gone, so she apologized for bringing the cops out for nothing. Being young and beautiful, I'm sure the cops didn't mind at all. She asked what she should have done or could do the next time.

"Throw them some bullets."

That's just cold.

John

P.S. - About those city dwellers and their multiple income streams; some of them are the most innovative and creative people I've ever met. Some of them know how to do stuff even a farmer doesn't need to know. And I'm talking about the unsuccessful ones, the ones scratching hard just to get by on nothing. I'm a vocational counselor. It's easy to get people talking about what they know how to do. Even if they only know 1/2 of what they claim, it's still pretty impressive.

happygeek
October 4, 2010, 11:01 PM
There's a good paper, "Underground Gun Markets" by PJ Cook and others that details the flow of guns into Chicago. I can't find a copy online but you can get one if you have an edu or gov email address, here:
http://www.nber.org/papers/w11737


Thanks!
Weren't Cook and Ludwig a tad biased towards the Brady viewpoint? Should be interesting reading once my dang work email starts working again and I can get the link to download a free copy (they email the link to your *.gov)

It surprises me that fences wouldn't sell ammo. I'd also wager that the Y% that were stolen from police is considerable, a quick Google search for guns stolen from police turned up a LOT of incidents, including this one (http://cbs2chicago.com/local/harvey.police.gun.2.1688570.html) where it looks like about two dozen firearms were stolen including MP5s and ARs. About the only place you could sell a MP5 would be out of the trunk of your car to people that you would have reason to suspect might be prohibited persons.

nelsonal
October 4, 2010, 11:28 PM
One thing to remember is that because Chicago has a very low firearms ownership rate (due to gun control), just having a gun is a pretty big advantage, but also means a huge increase in police attention if you use it in a crime. Most of the guns in the study, and guns confiscated by police, were old median age was between 12 and 15 years and the biggest group were older than 20 yrs. Caibers were mostly stuff like 25 ACP and 32 ACP, 9mm was the only duty round with a big showing.

Most of the fences sold guns for protection but didn't want to be fingered for selling ammo that could be used in a crime. They're very risk averse, 30-40% of deals don't finalize. If a fence is making <$2500 from gun sales or so per year, the last thing he wants is the extra police attention from a murder/attempted murder investigation.

The sum of %X, %Y and %Z is probably less than 50% of underground gun market, it's not in the paper, but since 57% were successfully traced, and they didn't have enough info to make it worth reporting stolen guns, I'd guess the 43% is pretty close to the likely proportion of stolen sourced underground guns.

An MP5 or M-4 is probably worth far more to someone who isn't planning to use it in a crime (the huge increase in jail time and police attention for federal firearms law violations make them pretty dangerous to use in a crime). Either selling it to a very high level crime boss for the very rare outside attack on their person, or a collector willing to keep it hidden would probably be the most valuable option for a full auto fire arm.

Your average street criminal who is likely to use a gun in a crime doesn't make enough to come close to affording an MP-5 (they're buying old .25 cal ravens or .22 revolvers for $175 or so). Your average gang banger averages about $2/hr. A small time gang boss controlling a valuable block might make 30-40k and a small time gang boss will make high 5 figures, but violence is a huge detriment to his income stream (as well as everyone above him).

happygeek
October 5, 2010, 10:16 PM
My copy and paste skills from PDFs are weak, have to work on that later. So far the report has said that the market is considered "thin", at least compared to stuff like drugs, but that gang members seem to have a much easier time getting their hands on underground firearms than petty criminals do.

http://i183.photobucket.com/albums/x297/fdhs_runner/Table5.jpg

Logan5
October 6, 2010, 12:30 AM
It's an interesting question.

Everything I know about crime guns is really anecdotal evidence, and I have some cool stories, but really what good are they? In the States Attorney's office I worked in, we charged the most serious offense that the facts would support, so it was usually murder or attempted murder, and we didn't stack state or fedeal AWB, and we didn't pay to run Drugfire, etc.

Jed Carter
October 6, 2010, 06:21 AM
Any "BAN" on anything will create a black market where the ban exists. I might become a blackmarketeer if there was a ban on handguns or guns in general, not from choice but from necessity. Prohibition proved the fact that a black market will exist both from legal an illegal sources (whiskey fron Canada or Kentucky stills). A ban on firearms would create more criminal behavior and enforcement problems than it was supposed to prevent.

gym
October 6, 2010, 03:48 PM
When I was a kid some 47 years ago, "I would have been 15", it ran about $75-100 dollars, to buy a 38 revolver on the strets of Queens or Bklyn. That was a lot of money for a Rossi, way back then. They were usually tripple the price of what a legal one would cost. Where as swag, "stolen goods" were 1/3 the price of legally bought goods, "there were no knock offs then. Tv's were about the same 30 to 50% of the store bought price. That would not work anymore, as an AK would be fifteen hundred instead of three hundred. So obviouslly theses guns are coming in in such volume that crooks can sell them at very good prices, "just an observation". On 60 minutes and other shows they showed villages in foreign countries like Somalia, where the entire village makes copies of AK's, AR's etc and charge $100.00 for them, and they are functional full auto weapons. Is it possible that there are "shops" that do this here in our own country? With modern equiptment, it would be no big deal to stamp out cheap copys and flood the streets with them, rather than selling legitamate guns at the prices that the newspapers and tv's suggest. People who buy out of the back of some guys trunk, aren't likelly to spend a thousand dollars on a gun.

Bubbles
October 6, 2010, 04:16 PM
On 60 minutes and other shows they showed villages in foreign countries like Somalia, where the entire village makes copies of AK's, AR's etc and charge $100.00 for them, and they are functional full auto weapons. Is it possible that there are "shops" that do this here in our own country? With modern equiptment, it would be no big deal to stamp out cheap copys and flood the streets with them, rather than selling legitamate guns at the prices that the newspapers and tv's suggest. People who buy out of the back of some guys trunk, aren't likelly to spend a thousand dollars on a gun.
With some firearms, yes, it's absurdly easy to make them. The AK was specifically designed to be easy to make, use, and maintain.

Other guns... not so sure. In theory the criminally-minded could purchase a bunch of 80% 1911 or AR15 receivers, finish them, assemble them from parts kits, etc. Sten guns also aren't that hard to make.

Of course, these guns would all be sterile as I don't really see the criminal marking them with his name, city, a s/n, etc. so the question is - how many sterile guns are seized by law-enforcement each year?

IMO, for the time and money invested in making the gun, the criminally-minded would be more likely to just steal one and re-sell it.

FIVETWOSEVEN
October 6, 2010, 04:34 PM
The AR's require quite a bit of machining aswell as the AK's. Those guns aren't new but old ones.

Onmilo
October 6, 2010, 09:08 PM
For many years the weapons of choice for the crime minded ran to small caliber pistols and revolvers with .38 caliber revolvers being the choice of those most inclined to actually use the guns during the commission of a crime.

Semi autos were not popular because the guns rarely came with spare magazines and a revolver could actually be reloaded quicker because of this.

As stated, black market gun sellers rarely sell ammo, reason being, they don't want their customers loading the guns then using them to rob or kill them at the time of the sale.
Ammo could be difficult but not impossible to acquire, many hardware stores sold ammo back in those days and didn't ask a lot of questions.

Today the trend is for larger caliber semi auto handguns but the quality of the guns still remains low.
High dollar guns stolen or acquired through less than legal means are coveted but rarely used in actual crimes because they are very expensive to purchase through black market sources.
Spare magazines and ammunition are easier for criminals to acquire today because they have no reservations of using a girlfriend to purchase the stuff for them, something that old time crooks would never consider doing, people who know things tend to talk, crooks today aren't as bright as the old time ones I guess and also seem to spend far less time on the street conducting their dark deeds before realizing incarceration, but also doing far less hard time when caught than criminals of old.

Trending guns found or recovered on the persons of criminals tend to run to the cheap side, Hi-Points, Jennings-Raven-Irwandale California made stuff.
Nobody wants to hear that because the arguement is cheap guns should be available so low income people can defend themselves and indeed, many are used in that arena.
The fact is, the cheap guns are also used in a disporportionate amount of crime simply because it is far easier to drop one of these guns than a more expensive high quality weapon.

mick244
October 6, 2010, 10:20 PM
Get a .44 black powder pistol at cabellas then buy a howells converter cylinder it adds up to about 450 bucks its legal and ya got a 45 pistol no questions ask shoots .45lc 250 gr with about 400 ft-lbs velocity

rbernie
October 6, 2010, 10:27 PM
This the best that DoJ can do:

http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/nij/topics/crime/gun-violence/ownership.htm

happygeek
October 7, 2010, 02:10 AM
Thanks for the link, looks like lots of info to look through later.

I'm surprised non one's mentioned The Khyber Pass yet (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Khyber_Pass_Copy).

I'd imagine that if anyone in the states was making guns from scrap, they wouldn't be the one using them for crime. I'd think they'd be engaged in the business of selling them. Are many, if any, guns recovered from various crimes that were never serial numbered?

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