Most Gun Crimes Not Committed By Gun Owners

The University of Pittsburgh just published a study showing the majority of people who use guns in crimes are not the legal owners of the weapons, according to this story from upi.com.

The university's Graduate School of Public Health analyzed 762 crimes in PIttsburgh and found that in nearly 80 percent of them in which a gun was recovered, the perpetrator was not the lawful owner of the gun.

In 44.3 percent of cases in which the suspect was not the owner of the gun, police were unable to locate the gun's owner to learn how possession was lost. When police could find the owner, more than 30 percent of the owners said the gun was stolen, and 57.9 percent of them had reported it missing or stolen, the story says.

"Owners who have illegally transferred their firearm, perhaps as a straw purchase where they buy the gun for someone who otherwise would not be able to legally obtain one, may be more likely to resist attempts by police to contact them or claim the firearm was stolen after police contact them...the overriding issue here is that these numbers are just estimates. Even police departments do not have the resources to accurately and consistently track firearms used in illegal activities," said Anthony Fabio in the story. Fabio is the assistant epidemiology professor at the university who led the research project.

Fabio recommended additional efforts to educate the public about safe gun storage, and more collaboration between public health and law enforcement experts to reduce violent crime and improve access to data about firearms, the story says.