No matter how many times we tell people that gun laws don’t work, that criminals will continue to find guns, some people just don’t want to get the memo. They continue to prattle on about how this law will reduce crime, or how that law will cut down on murders. The reality is that none of that will happen.
We have told people how criminals get guns. CBS accidentally stumbled onto it too.
Criminals get their guns illegally, off the street. We’ve said it time and time again, but we’re typically ignored. I think part of it is that because the people we tell don’t know how to get an illegal gun, they figure it’s not that easy. I get it. Of course, they’re wrong.
Recently a study was conducted that showed just how easily the bad guys can get a gun, and it’s not difficult at all.
Researchers at Northwestern University used arrest records and firearm recovery data collected from the Chicago Police Department between 2006 and 2013 to construct a “network” of offenders and their proximity — via associates — to firearms. The approach, considered novel within the scientific community, attempts to quantify how easily guns fall into the wrong hands.
“Literally, we wanted to know how many ‘handshakes’ away possible users of illegal firearms are to a gun,” said Andrew V. Papachristos, senior author of the study and a professor of sociology at Northwestern University, during an interview with the student-lead Northwestern Now website. “How easy is it for them to get a gun?”
Researchers focused in on a group of more than 188,000 co-offenders — defined as two people arrested together and therefore, likely to be associates or friends in a larger network of criminals. The study relayed the offender list with information on nearly 29,000 firearms seized from Chicago streets to map out the distance between the two data sets. Papachristos described the result as about “2.5 handshakes” apart.
“In the context of Chicago’s illegal gun markets, this means that guns are in relatively close — but not necessarily immediate — access to individuals in the network,” he said. “A distance of two equates with an ‘associates’ associate’ — the equivalent of asking someone for a gun and that person replying, ‘I know someone who can get you a gun.’
Further, there was a survey done at the Cook County Jail there in Chicago. What it found out was something similar.
An anonymous survey conducted by the University of Chicago in 2015 of 99 inmates at Cook County Jail — imprisoned mostly for gun-related charges — found nearly 70 percent said they bought and traded firearms through their social network.
Respondents said they often only bought or sold guns within these groups because they were afraid of selling to an undercover cop or police informant — feelings that were shared among their peers. “Dirty” guns — those used in crimes — were often disposed of or destroyed.
In other words, criminals get their hands on guns illegally, from people selling guns illegally, and no new gun laws are going to change that. All new gun laws do is make life difficult for the innocent, law-abiding citizen who just wants to protect himself or herself. They don’t do anything to deter crime.
It’s almost like criminals don’t follow the law or something.