A new study confirms that most criminals who use guns do not buy them legally. The University of Chicago Crime Lab conducted the survey and interviewed inmates in the Cook County jail (Chicago, Illinois). The study focused on where the inmates obtained their guns by asking only inmates facing gun charges or whose criminal background involved gun crimes.
Inmates said they would get their guns through connections on the streets as opposed to going through legal channels such as gun shows or the Internet. Harold Pollack, the crime lab co director said, “Some of the pathways [regarding guns] people are concerned about don’t seem so dominant. Very few inmates indicated using gun shows or the internet. Rather, they get the guns in undetectable ways on the street. The inmates know they run the risk of being caught by police but “were less concerned about getting caught by the cops than being put in the position of not having a gun to defend themselves and then getting shot.”
Most of the inmates that participated in this study said they prefer handguns for both illegal activities and for personal protection. Most also admit to getting rid of their guns after about one year to protect themselves from being convicted of a crime that was committed using the illegally purchased weapon. Many of these guns are circulated and used for several different crimes by different people. Many of the inmates say their personal connections on the street to purchase illegal handguns include affiliations with gang members or allegedly corrupt cops.
One thing is for sure, the inmates emphasized that they never buy their guns legally, through gun stores, gun shows, or online. This study may very well suggest that criminals who use guns do not make up any part of the law abiding citizens who must endure stringent background checks prior to buying a gun. This confirms the point that pro gun advocates have been trying to make for years. It seems it is more difficult for a law abiding citizen to exercise their Second Amendment rights than it is for someone with ill intent.