Back in 2002, the Department of Justice released an updated survey on guns and cons. Firearms Use by Offenders was based on face-to-face interviews with 18,326 state and federal prisoners who’d used a firearm in a crime. It remains the only reliable source of information on the type, source and use of guns by convicted criminals. This website has cited the survey many times. If nothing else, it exposes the myth of the “gun show loophole.” Less than one percent of respondents obtained a firearms at a gun show.
Houston’s ABC13.com has attempted to replicate the DOJ gun study, albeit using a statistically irrelevant methodology. “We sent out questionnaires to convicted murderers within a three-hour drive of Houston who’d used a gun,” reporter Ted Oberg told TTAG. “We received 22 completed questionnaires.” A fact that Mr. Oberg’s published/broadcast report somehow fails to mention. [Note: the Houston survey was restricted to felons convicted of murder. The DOJ study interviewed cons who’d used a gun for any offense.]
The ABC13 survey has some curious results. The answer “it was stolen” to “where did you get the gun?” doesn’t necessarily mean “I stole the gun.” I think it’s safe to surmise that the guns “bought on the street” were also boosted. Doesn’t that mean that 88 percent of the guns the 22 killers used to take their victims’ life were stolen?
By the same token, the 13 percent “gun store” response doesn’t account for “straw purchases” (guns obtained by sending someone with a clean record into a gun store). While technically not “stolen” or “bought on the street,” guns purchased by a surrogate are illegally sourced.
Where’s “bought at a gun show or online” in this? Right where it was in the DOJ study. Nowhere. [Call me a hopeless pedant, but those numbers add up to 101.]
The plethora of ex-police fo-tays in the wild — not to mention their popularity in rap music — didn’t seem to influence the Texas killers’ caliber choice. If, indeed, they made a conscious choice from the three alternatives listed (which at least add up to 100 percent). Assuming the reporter meant .40 rather than 40mm.
The fact that all 22 murderers used a handgun to violate at least one of the Ten Commandments is hardly a surprise. The “weapons of war on our streets” gun control hyperbole is just that. The vast majority of criminals opt for a weapon with maximum concealability. FYI here are the DOJ stats on the same question of firearm type.
Speaking of non-surprises, check out this ABC13.com stat re: the incidence of prohibited persons amongst the survey population, and the distinct lack of respondents who possessed a license to carry.
A full 10 percent of the 22 killers (2.2?) could have purchased a gun legally. (Not that they did, but they could have.) Does that mean the FBI background check system can’t prohibit a full 10 percent of killers from obtaining firearm? It does. Actually, that statement’s true for 100 percent of these murderers.
Here’s the kicker, drawn from the Harris County District Attorney’s Office database, rather than Houston murderers.
What does that tell you about the efficacy of gun control laws?