How Gun Laws Impact ‘Time-to-Crime’


Tougher state gun laws and regulations can dramatically decrease the rate at which guns are used for crimes soon after purchase.

In a study funded by the National Institute of Justice, researchers analyzed data from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to determine the “time-to-crime” between a gun's purchase and law enforcement's recovery of the weapon in connection with a crime.

In states with no gun laws or regulations, an average of 65.8 guns per 100,000 gun owners are traced in connection with criminal investigations within the first three years of ownership, according to the study. In states with both gun laws and regulations, an average of 15 guns per 100,000 gun owners are traced.

The study notes that one negative effect of regulations that increase time-to-crime is that newer guns are easier for to crime investigators to track.

Researchers recommend that firearm manufacturers and policymakers adopt a variety of marking and tracing protocols that would make it more efficient to track weapons.

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