Convicted felons and other people with criminal records have bought thousands of rounds of ammunition from gun stores in Los Angeles, even though such sales are illegal, says a new Rand Corporation study reported by the Los Angeles Times. Rand analyzed sales at 10 of the 13 businesses that sell to the public and found that 52 people convicted of crimes including felony drug possession and stalking bought more than 10,000 rounds of bullets and shotgun shells in April and May 2004. Although the number of buyers totaled less than 3 three of all ammunition customers at the stores, researchers said other studies have found guns or bullets purchased by ex-convicts are much more likely to be used in crimes than those bought by people with no criminal histories.
“The significance here is that if we can prevent access to ammunition for people who have already shown a propensity to commit crime, we can have an impact on gun violence,” said George Tita, a criminologist at University of California- Irvine and lead author of the study. “Without bullets, guns are just clubs.” The study, funded by the National Institute of Justice, examined ammunition purchases at seven sporting goods stores, two firing ranges, and one war surplus business in the city.