• Ken Kraushaar

new doj survey shows universal background checks and assault weapons bans wouldn't reduce crime.


hi all,

I hope your january has been relatively dry. this is the time of year where we here in northern california typically get our rain, which has made for some interesting range days for sure.

anyways, much to do has been made about our local state senator's push for universal background checks as something to be done to reduce crimes and mass shootings. while it completely ignores the fact that there are inherent problems with the ATF and NICS staffing, as well as the 4473 itself, it also is not based in reality.

the BJS recently released a survey stating that among other things, that most firearms used in shootings, etc. were gotten through channels that would not be affected by enhanced background cheks.

among the highlights are:

  • About 21% of state and 20% of federal prisoners said they possessed a gun during their offense, while 79% of state and 80% of federal prisoners did not.

  • About 29% of state and 36% of federal prisoners serving time for a violent offense possessed a gun during the offense.

  • About 1.3% of prisoners obtained a gun from a retail source and used it during their offense.

  • Handguns were the most common type of firearm possessed by state and federal prisoners (18% each); 11% of all prisoners used a handgun.

  • Among prisoners who possessed a gun during their offense, 90% did not obtain it from a retail source.

Based on the 2016 Survey of Prison Inmates, about 1 in 5 (21%) of all state and federal prisoners possessed or carried a firearm when they committed the offense for which they were serving time. Handguns were the most common type of firearm possessed by state and federal prisoners during their offense (18%), and 11% of all prisoners used a handgun during their offense. Less than 2% of all prisoners obtained a firearm from a retail source and possessed (1.9%) or used (1.3%) it during their crime.

Controlling-offense characteristics

About 29% of state and 36% of federal prisoners serving time for a violent offense said they possessed or carried a firearm during the offense. Violent offenders were

much more likely to have possessed a firearm during the offense than property (5% state, 3% federal) or drug (8% state, 12% federal) offenders.

Source of firearms

Overall, an estimated 287,400 prisoners possessed a firearm during their offense. Among prisoners who possessed a gun during their offense, 90% did not obtain it from a retail source. More than half (56%) of prisoners who possessed a firearm during their offense had either stolen it (6%), found it at the scene of the crime (7%), or obtained it of the street or from the underground market (43%). Fewer than 1% had obtained the firearm at a gun show (0.8%), which throws cold water on the idea of a "gun-show loop hole".

Demographic characteristics

In state prisons, males were about 2.5 times as likely (22%) as females (9%) to have possessed a firearm during the crime for which they were imprisoned. In federal prisons, males (21%) were about three times as likely as females (7%) to have possessed a firearm during their crime. Among all prisoners, blacks (29% state, 29% federal) were more likely than whites (12% state, 17% federal) and Hispanics (21% state, 13% federal) to have possessed a firearm during their crime.

In general, the likelihood of state and federal prisoners having possessed a firearm during their crime decreased with age. Firearm possession was highest among inmates ages 18 to 24 in both state (32%) and federal (30%) prisons. State prisoners with no military service were more likely to have possessed a gun during their offense (21%) than those who had served in the military (16%).

Use of firearms during crimes

About 1 in 5 state and federal prisoners who possessed a firearm during their offense obtained it with the intent to use it during the crime. Among state prisoners who possessed a gun during their offense, 27% killed someone with it, another 12% injured someone with it, 7% fired it but did not injure anyone, 22% showed or pointed it but did not fire it, and 32% did not use it.

in other words, Nancy Pelosi, and Mike Thompson are ignoring the facts available and the background check legislation outlawing private sales might shore up (at most) between 8 and 10 percent of crime guns. But that’s assuming that all “other” sources are private sellers and that all gun show/ flea market purchases were made from private sellers. The real number is likely much lower than they might suggest.

Dianne Feinstein's assault weapons ban doesn't seem to fare better. it's been known for years that MSRs account for a near negligible amount of homicides, and yet she persists in pushing legislation to ban them again, even though the data showed that the original ban enacted by democrats in the 90s had no impact on crime reduction or shootings. the DOJ's findings are consistent with this trend. they found that only 1.5 percent of all prisoners possessed a rifle during the commission of a crime. By contrast, 18.4 percent of prisoners possessed a handgun, which accounts for nearly 90 percent of all types of firearms possessed.

Feinstein and Co. ignore these statistics, focusing instead on how their “assault weapons” ban will stop mass murders, especially at schools, mainly by using fear tactics in order to scare the populace into thinking that somehow the availability of these weapons alone contributes to the perpetration of mass shootings. considering the fact that nine of the mass shootings with the 20 highest death tolls involved handguns or long guns that are not covered by Feinstein’s bill, prohibiting law-abiding citizens from purchasing AR-15s with pistol grips is unlikely to do much good.

the full 20 page report can be found here.

it is extremely important that we all reach out to our state senators and representatives and implore them to stop using scare tactics and to actually put into place things that will actually help, such as a fully funded and staffed ATF, and FBI NICS staff, in addition to looking at what is overlooked in the 4473 and the things it covers as more often than not, it's a lack of information and a lack of coverage that causes people to slip through the cracks, as was the case of the Sutherland shooter, the Parkland shooter, and the Charleston shooter, where the system itself failed in each of the cases, rather than it being the availability of MSRs that somehow caused it.

the more you know and the more you are willing to fight , the more we can hold our politicians accountable when it comes to preserving our second amendment rights.

stay safe, and happy shooting.

Ken Kraushaar is an IFSA certified firearm specialist and owner of Ken Kraushaar Firearms service in sonoma county california. He has over 30 years of firearms experience and when he's not at his shop, can be found at local shooting ranges or enjoying the beauty that is our county parks system.


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