In a crackdown on gangs and violence in Compton, Ca., Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca investigated where gang members were getting their guns. The Los Angeles Times says that sheriff’s officials tracked down the origins of nearly 900 weapons confiscated there last year. Sixteen guns recovered in or near Compton were traced to a single store in Sparks, Nv., near Reno. That same location, which was not publicly identified, accounted for more than 350 weapons recovered nationwide by law enforcement officials last year.
Most of the weapons confiscated in Compton were originally sold in California. Scores of others came from Arizona, Nevada, and Colorado. Nine weapons were registered in Connecticut and a few others were registered in Ohio. Only a couple dozen of the guns had been reported stolen, even though almost none was found in the possession of the registered owner. “It tells us that these people are selling them,” said Commander Ralph Martin, referring to a practice known as “straw buys” in which a person who is legally able to buy a weapon turns around and passes the gun to someone who cannot.