Felonious or Violent Criminal Activity That Prohibits Gun Ownership Among Prior Purchasers of Handguns: Incidence and Risk Factors

Publication Date: May 2010

Publisher: The Journal of Trauma Injury, Infection, and Critical Care

Author(s): Garen J. Wintemute; Mona J. Wright, MPH

Research Area: Government; Law and ethics

Keywords: firearms; handguns; violence; crime policy

Type: Report

Coverage: United States


Federal law prohibits firearm possession by felons and certain others. Little is known about criminal activity resulting in new ineligibility to possess firearms among persons who have previously purchased them.

This is a study of handgun purchasers ages 21 to 49 in California in 1991, and measures in part the incidence and relative risk of conviction for a felony or violent misdemeanor resulting in ineligibility to possess firearms under (a) California law or (b) federal law.

It concludes that among legal purchasers of handguns, the incidence of new felonious and violent criminal activity resulting in ineligibility to possess firearms is low for those with no prior criminal history, but is substantially higher for those with a prior criminal record and is affected by demographic characteristics.