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Purchase of Multiple Firearms as a Risk Factor for Criminal Gun Use: Implications for Gun Policy and Enforcement

NCJ Number
Criminology & Public Policy Volume: 4 Issue: 4 Dated: November 2005 Pages: 749-778
Date Published
November 2005
30 pages

This study investigated the possible link between multiple gun sales and gun crimes.


The purchase of multiple guns in one sales transaction is known as a multiple gun sale; this simultaneous purchase of more than one gun has been associated with gun trafficking. While some States have moved to restrict multiple gun sales, there has been little research examining the association between multiple gun sales and gun crimes. This study relied on data on the sale and subsequent police recovery of guns sold in Maryland to investigate the link between multiple gun sales and gun crime. The analysis was based on Maryland State Police records of 180,246 gun sales made in Maryland between 1990 and 1996. ATF gun trace data was then linked to the sales data to determine when handguns sold in Maryland were subsequently recovered by police. Results of statistical analyses indicated that guns sold in multiple sales accounted for approximately 25 percent of the guns recovered from crimes. Moreover, guns bought in multiple sales were also roughly 25 percent more likely than guns in single sales to be recovered in neighboring jurisdictions, primarily in Washington, DC where there are strict gun control laws. The findings suggest that policies requiring gun dealers to report multiple gun sales are prudent and should be followed up by law enforcement officers. Figure, tables, footnotes, and references

Date Published: November 1, 2005