5 things to know about illegally purchased guns

Lying on your background check to get a gun is a federal crime. But those who do are rarely charged. Why? A closer look at what's behind the problem and how local police are partnering with citizens to keep guns out of the wrong hands Monday, Oct. 29, beginning at 5 p.m. on News Center 7.

Background checks, state and federal laws for gun purchases vary, and some critics say firearm laws in the U.S. are in need of reform. Here’s what to know about illegally purchased guns:

1. STOLEN GUNS More than half a million firearms are stolen each year in the United States and more than half of stolen firearms are handguns, many of which are subsequently sold illegally, according to researchers at the Terry Sanford Institute of Public Policy at Duke University.


2. ILLEGAL MARKET  The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) issued a report in 2000 detailing firearms trafficking investigations involving more than 84,000 diverted firearms, finding that federally licensed firearms dealers were associated with the largest number of trafficked guns – over 40,000 – and concluded that the dealers' "access to large numbers of firearms makes them a particular threat to public safety when they fail to comply with the law."

3. LEGAL PURCHASES Lawful gun owners commit less than a fifth of all gun crimes, according to an analysis by the University of Pittsburgh. Epidemiologist Anthony Fabio of Pittsburgh's Graduate School of Public Health and researchers partnered with the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police to trace the origins of all 893 firearms that police recovered from crime scenes in the year 2008, The Washington Post reported.

“They found that in approximately 8 out of 10 cases, the perpetrator was not a lawful gun owner but rather in illegal possession of a weapon that belonged to someone else,” the report found.

4. STOLEN GUNS More than 30 percent of the guns that ended up at crime scenes had been stolen, according to Fabio's research. More than 40 percent of those stolen guns weren't reported by the owners as stolen until after police contacted them when the gun was used in a crime, The Post reported.

5. VARYING GUN LAWS Gun laws vary based on what state a person tries to buy a gun. View more about Ohio's gun laws here. Some gun laws have changed in recent years, including that permit-holders can lock their guns in their cars at work.


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