Strategies for Disrupting Illegal Firearm Markets
A Case Study of Los Angeles
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In 2001, with the support of a grant from the National Institute of Justice, RAND initiated a research and program-development effort to understand the nature of illegal gun markets operating in the city of Los Angeles, California. The primary goal of this project was to determine whether a data-driven, problem-solving approach could yield new interventions aimed at disrupting the workings of local, illegal gun markets serving criminals, gang members, and juveniles in Los Angeles. The authors created a new software tool to help law enforcement analyze patterns in crime-gun data and identify and trace illicit pathways by which criminals acquire guns. Second, the findings were incorporated into an interagency working-group process that developed a community-based intervention designed to disrupt the illegal flow of guns to Los Angeles-area criminals; this intervention may had an impact on straw purchasing. Key participants in the working group included the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives; the Los Angeles Police Department; the U.S. Attorney's Office; state and city prosecutors; academics; and other criminal-justice agencies. Finally, they assessed the utility of retail ammunition-purchase records in identifying prohibited firearm possessors, recommending a cost-benefit analysis on this measure.
Table of Contents
Development of the Firearms Trace Pattern Analysis Software
New Gun-Buyer-Notification Program
The Criminal Purchase of Firearm Ammunition
Data Dictionary of Variables Incorporated in the FTPA System
Trafficking and Suspicious-Behavior Indicators in the FTPA System
Database-Query and Information-Request Form
Letter to City of Los Angeles Gun Buyers
This research was supported by a grant from the National Institute of Justice and conducted under the auspices of the Safety and Justice Program within RAND Infrastructure, Safety, and Environment (ISE).
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