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Laws that prohibit certain individuals from owning firearms also pertain to ammunition. Whereas retail sales of firearms to criminals are regularly disrupted by instant background checks, sales of ammunition are essentially unchecked and the rate at which criminals acquire ammunition is unknown. This research describes the ammunition market and estimates the rate at which criminals are acquiring ammunition. The authors used criminal background checks conducted on individuals purchasing ammunition in Los Angeles in April and May 2004. Prohibited possessors purchased 10,050 rounds of ammunition in Los Angeles. These estimates suggest that monitoring ammunition transactions may help reduce the supply of ammunition to criminals and the frequency of injuries from felonious gun assaults. Such a record can also provide information for generating leads on illegal firearm possession.

Reprinted with permission of Injury Prevention Vol. 12, pp. 308-311, 2006. © 2006 by BMJ Publishing Group Ltd.

Originally published in: Injury Prevention, Vol. 12, p. 308-311, 2006.

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