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People and guns involved in denied and completed handgun sales

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Publication Date: March 2005

Publisher(s): Injury Prevention

Author(s): Mona A. Wright; Garen J. Wintemute; Barbara E. Claire


Special Collection: The Joyce Foundation

Topic: Social conditions (Safety and security)

Keywords: handgun sales; denied gun sales ; California crime ; gun laws

Type: Report

Coverage: California


Denial of handgun purchases by prohibited people and knowledge of the structure of gun commerce have helped to deter and prevent firearm violence. The authors hypothesize that handguns involved in a denied purchase would more closely resemble those used in crime compared with handguns sold.
This study compared denied and completed handgun sales in California during 1998–2000. It focused in particular on handgun characteristics most closely associated with crime guns. The type, caliber, barrel length and price of guns were examined.
It finds that compared with handguns sold, handguns in denied sales were somewhat more likely to be semiautomatic pistols, to have short barrels, and be of medium caliber. Ten percent of the handguns in denied sales and 3.4% of handguns sold were identified as inexpensive. Finally, it concludes that the characteristics of denied handguns are similar to those seen among crime guns.