U of Chicago Study: Most Chicago Criminals Attain Guns Illegally

A new study conducted by Preventive Medicine and the University of Chicago has concluded that most criminals in Chicago do not acquire guns legally.

The study surveyed 99 inmates at the Cook County Jail in the fall of 2013, asking where they had gone to acquire guns. The survey concluded that most of the inmates had gotten their guns illegally: “adults who are entitled to possess a gun are more likely than not to buy from an FFL [licensed dealer]. On the other hand, those who are disqualified by age or criminal history are most likely to obtain their guns in off-the-books transactions, often from social connections such as family and acquaintances, or from ‘street’ sources such as illicit brokers or drug dealers.” About 60 percent of the respondents had gotten their guns by purchase or trade; the rest through “common arrangements” such as sharing guns or holding them for others.

Chicago has very strict gun control laws and banned the sale of firearms within city limits until it was declared unconstitutional in 2014. That same year Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel proposed strict gun control laws, including videotaping gun sales and cross-checking records against a regional trace database.

In order to transfer a gun to another person in Chicago a seller has to create a receipt with the name and ID number of both the seller and buyer, as well as the serial number of the firearm. Giving a gun as a gift requires filling out a form from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.