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Inj Prev. 2009 Oct;15(5):291-9. doi: 10.1136/ip.2007.017301.

Disproportionate sales of crime guns among licensed handgun retailers in the United States: a case-control study.

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  • 1Violence Prevention Research Program, University of California, Davis, Sacramento, CA 95817, USA. gjwintemute@ucdavis.edu

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To determine risk factors among licensed firearm retailers for disproportionate sales of handguns that are later subjected to ownership tracing, generally after use in crime.

DESIGN:

Case-control; the study period was 1998-2003. Cases were all eligible firearm retailers whose handguns were later traced at a rate that significantly (p<0.05) exceeded the expected value. Controls were a 4:1 random sample of the remainder. Data were obtained from sales and tracing records for 1998-2003 and site visits conducted August-December, 2004.

SUBJECTS AND SETTING:

60 cases and 240 controls, from the 573 retailers in California selling >or= 50 handguns annually during the study period.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE:

Status as a case. Odds ratios were used to measure relative risk.

RESULTS:

In multivariate analyses, cases had larger sales volumes, sold inexpensive handguns more often, had a higher percentage of sales denied because the prospective purchasers were prohibited from owning firearms, and were more likely to be in an urban area, in or near a city with a policy of tracing all recovered crime guns. The effects of several risk factors, including status as a pawnbroker and sales to law enforcement personnel, appeared to be mediated by purchaser characteristics for which denied sales are a proxy measure.

CONCLUSIONS:

A number of factors-most of them characteristics of the retailers or of their handgun purchasers, and most of them available in existing data-were linked to disproportionate sales of handguns that are later used in crime.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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