Illegal Guns Arm Criminals

Illegal guns and legal gun showsFind yourself baffled by the ever-changing focus of the gun control debate? So are we. Let’s talk about illegal guns. Gun opponents use violent, gun-related tragic events as the reason that stricter gun laws, including banning civilian-owned guns, are necessary. All while claiming criminals use legal channels to acquire weapons.

Yeah, it doesn’t make sense to us either. For years, researchers have examined where, when and how criminals obtain their weapons. Here’s what they’ve found. Criminals NEVER attend legal gun shows. They’re afraid they won’t pass the background check. They fear attracting attention to themselves. For the same reasons, they don’t do business with a federally registered gun dealer. Criminals won’t do business in these legal ways.

More Findings

And despite popular belief, criminals DON’T normally steal guns. (For your own safety, though, you still need to report a stolen weapon).  What stops criminals from stealing guns? Fear stops them from committing THAT crime. They fear the gun is dirty (used in the commission of another crime). Criminals may be criminals but they’re not foolish.

So, how do criminals get their hands on weapons? Online? Surprisingly, no. They’re afraid law enforcement is laying a trap. Have you noticed a recurring theme in why criminals don’t use any of the legal networks?

Still, there’s no denying criminals get their hands on guns – probably illegal guns. But how? Family and close friends, according to a study released last fall. The study, which concentrates on criminals incarcerated in Cook County Jail, focused on  Chicago. There have been 2,110 shootings as of July 14. For 2015, shootings in Chicago totaled 2,988 for the year.

Straw Purchase

The straw purchase method is one of the most trusted ways a criminal acquires a gun. What is it? A family member or close friend agrees to use their identity to secure a firearm for another person. In every instance this purchase is for someone who cannot legally obtain a firearm on their own. These straw purchase buyers are committing a crime but they have a clean criminal record. They can pass the scrutiny of a background check.

Will a more exhaustive background check or a longer wait period prevent such transactions from occurring? We don’t believe so. Criminals will always find a way to get their hands on weapons. They’re too street-smart to ask the same family member or friend to acquire a weapon by straw purchase twice.

Gun Trafficking

In the not so distant past (think the 1980s), organized crime and drug cartels used to be the only game in town for gun trafficking. But that’s become a thing of the past in recent years. Securing guns through the black market is just another way for criminals to control where they get their guns and from whom. They rely on family and friends for navigating the black market, too. They will only deal with someone they trust.

Still, criminals don’t hold their weapons long – for fear of being caught with illegal guns. Researchers concluded that the typical criminal quick ownership has no bearing whatsoever on more intensive background checks. That means that more intensive background checks   wouldn’t prevent criminals from obtaining a gun since they don’t go through legal channels to get their guns.


We believe gun opponents manipulate data surrounding when, how and where criminals acquire weapons to take the focus off the real issues surrounding gun violence (mental illness, terrorism – to name a few) and to strip lawful American citizens of their Second Amendment rights. Stay tuned for more in our misinformation series!

You might also like:

Image credit – By –, CC BY 2.0,

Sign Up for Our Mailing List
* = required field

About Bret Smith

I am a long-time lover of all things outdoors. Whether hunting, shooting, fishing or just hiking and camping, I take every opportunity to enjoy nature and share it with others.

Speak Your Mind