We previously reported a study by researchers in the University of Chicago Crime Lab that surveyed inmates at the Cook County Jail about where they acquired firearms. Now the team has corroborated its findings with a second study that examined data provided from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATFE) and the Chicago Police Department.
This supplementary study found that “dirty dealers”—sellers who provide guns to individuals they know to be unable to pass a background check—accounted for less than 5 percent of guns winding up in the hands of gang members. Instead, most gang members received guns from friends or through straw purchases. This pair of studies emphasizes how little most gun-control measures would affect the normal channels through which career criminals get their hands on firearms.