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The Life Cycle of Crime Guns: A Description Based on Guns Recovered From Young People in California

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Publication Date: June 2004

Publisher(s): Annals of Emergency Medicine

Author(s): Mona A. Wright; Michael P. Romero, MPH; Kevin M. Grassell


Special Collection: The Joyce Foundation


Keywords: California gun traces; gun laws; gun trafficking

Type: Report

Coverage: United States


Knowing patterns of gun use can guide research and violence prevention efforts, especially for persons younger than 25 years old. Persons aged 18 to 20 years old are well-defined high-risk groups for illegal gun possession. The majority of guns used in crimes are not under their original ownership at the time of a crime.

Using data for 2,121 guns recovered and traced in California in 1999, this study examines where persons younger than 25 years access guns used in crimes and the life cycle of these guns.

Semi-automatic weapons accounted for more than half of guns used in the studied crimes. A significant minority of crime guns appear to
be obtained through trafficking.