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Study finds federal amendments increased gun sales diverted to criminals
Date:1/9/2012

A new study by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research finds that the number of guns that were subsequently linked to crime sold by Badger Guns & Ammo, a Milwaukee-area gun shop, increased dramatically after Congress adopted measures likely to reduce the risks gun dealers face if they divert guns to criminals. The study is the first to examine the impact of these amendments on the diversion of guns to criminals and was recently published online in the peer-reviewed Journal of Urban Health.

The Tiahrt amendments are a series of amendments to appropriations bills and named for the sponsor, former U.S. Rep. Todd Tiahrt, R-KS. They became law in 2003 and prohibit the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) from releasing data from crime gun traces. Gun traces reveal when, where, and from whom a gun recovered from a crime was originally purchased. In 2004, the Tiahrt amendments further restricted crime gun-trace data by limiting access to government officials and prohibiting the use of these data in firearm dealer license revocations and civil law suits. In addition, the law prohibits ATF from requiring gun dealers to do a physical inventory of their firearms for compliance inspections and requires the FBI to destroy data from background checks of gun purchasers within 24 hours.

In 1999, ATF data showed that Badger Guns & Ammo led the nation's gun dealers with the most gun sales later linked to crime gun traces. Shortly after the announcement, the gun shop's owner announced that the store would no longer sell small, poorly made handguns (sometimes referred to as "junk guns") that are commonly linked to crime.

Data from the new Johns Hopkins study indicate that the gun dealer apparently adhered to that policy for approximately 14 months, a period in which the number of guns sold by Badger Guns & Ammo and diverted to criminals declined by 66 percent. Reductions were observed for junk guns
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Contact: Tim Parsons
tmparson@jhsph.edu
410-955-7619
Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health
Source:Eurekalert

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