Strategies for Disrupting Illegal Firearm Markets

Strategies for Disrupting Illegal Firearm Markets: A Case Study of Los Angeles

Greg Ridgeway
Glenn L. Pierce
Anthony A. Braga
George Tita
Garen Wintemute
Wendell Roberts
Copyright Date: 2008
Edition: 1
Published by: RAND Corporation
Pages: 90
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  • Book Info
    Strategies for Disrupting Illegal Firearm Markets
    Book Description:

    Could a data-driven, problem-solving approach yield new interventions to disrupt local, illegal gun markets serving criminals, gang members, and juveniles in Los Angeles? Law enforcement can analyze patterns in crime-gun data to trace illicit firearm acquisition, use community-based interventions to stem the illegal flow, and use retail ammunition-purchase records in identifying prohibited firearm possessors.

    eISBN: 978-0-8330-4490-7
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-ii)
  2. Preface
    (pp. iii-iv)
  3. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  4. Figures
    (pp. vii-viii)
  5. Tables
    (pp. ix-x)
  6. Summary
    (pp. xi-xiv)
  7. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xv-xvi)
  8. Abbreviations
    (pp. xvii-xviii)
  9. CHAPTER ONE Introduction
    (pp. 1-12)

    In 2001, with the support of a grant from the National Institute of Justice (NIJ), RAND initiated a research and program-development effort to understand the nature of illegal gun markets operating in the city of Los Angeles, California. The primary goal of this project was to determine whether a data-driven, problem-solving approach could yield new interventions aimed at disrupting the workings of local illegal gun markets serving criminals, gang members, and juveniles in Los Angeles. There were three key components of this research and development project. First, we developed a software tool designed to support strategic analyses of firearm-information resources,...

  10. CHAPTER TWO Development of the Firearms Trace Pattern Analysis Software
    (pp. 13-26)

    In this chapter, we describe the FTPA software tool developed for this project and also describe analyses that we conducted using this software. The FTPA software is designed to facilitate the analysis and dissemination of firearm-trace information on guns recovered by law enforcement. While this chapter serves as a case study of FTPA’s development in Los Angeles, it also provides a blueprint for other jurisdictions interested in enhancing their firearm-information resources and analytic capacity to respond to illegal gun markets.

    The complexity and diversity of illegal gun markets suggest that there is no single best policy or approach to disrupting...

  11. CHAPTER THREE New Gun-Buyer–Notification Program
    (pp. 27-40)

    Once the FTPA workstation was deployed, our workgroup began a process to highlight important crime-gun–trafficking indicators and to develop an intervention to reduce the supply of illegal guns in the target areas of Los Angeles. For example, one such indicator that investigators proposed is whether the possessor’s sex differed from that of the original purchaser. This indicator can suggest that a male who is prohibited from legally purchasing a firearm is using a girlfriend, wife, or other associate to make a straw purchase. However, once we compared the rate at which this occurred to the rate at which females...

  12. CHAPTER FOUR The Criminal Purchase of Firearm Ammunition
    (pp. 41-50)

    This chapter describes the final task for this study, an analysis of ammunition purchases in Los Angeles. Firearms have received most of the attention of regulators aiming to reduce gun violence, but the attention of some has turned to ammunition. One of the reasons we proposed to focus our study on the city of Los Angeles is that ammunition retailers within the city limits have been collecting data on all retail ammunition purchases since 1998 (LAMC §55.11), requiring proof of identification and a thumbprint. This section describes our analysis of the data collected in these logs.

    Under federal law, those...

  13. CHAPTER FIVE Conclusions
    (pp. 51-52)

    The broad lesson that this research reiterates is the value added to the development of crime-prevention strategies by in-depth problem analysis. For public-safety officials, this research underscores that a combination of useful firearm laws, good data sources, the expertise of local agencies, and careful analysis can result in new interventions with the potential to disrupt the supply of illegal firearms. For complex problems, such as the illegal diversion of firearms, a deep understanding of the nature of the problem is crucial in framing appropriate responses. The problem-analysis exercise described here benefited greatly from a solid working partnership between criminal-justice practitioners...

  14. APPENDIX A Data Dictionary of Variables Incorporated in the FTPA System
    (pp. 53-58)
  15. APPENDIX B Trafficking and Suspicious-Behavior Indicators in the FTPA System
    (pp. 59-62)
  16. APPENDIX C Database-Query and Information-Request Form
    (pp. 63-64)
  17. APPENDIX D Letter to City of Los Angeles Gun Buyers
    (pp. 65-66)
  18. References
    (pp. 67-72)