Illegal Firearms: Access and Use By ArresteesJanuary 1997
This Research in Brief discusses the findings of a study conducted in response to the Attorney General's concern about the increase in deaths and injuries due to firearms violence since the mid-1980s. Her concern prompted a request for a better understanding of the illegal firearms market and its participants. The study presents an innovative method to gain insight into the dynamics of that market: from people who were arrested and booked. Arrestees in 11 major urban areas across the country were interviewed for the study. Taken together, the results of this study of firearms access, availability, and use among arrestees produced a picture of a culture in which possession and use of guns is not only common, but also tolerated and accepted as the norm. The findings suggest that some current approaches to reducing gun crimeparticularly laws against illegal possession and useneed to be supplemented by a multifaceted intervention strategy.