What Percentage Of Murders Are Committed With Stolen Guns?

Someone stopped by searching for “what percentage of murders are committed with stolen guns.”

Before I answer that, let me give a bit of background. A stolen “police caliber” handgun that typically sells for $500 and up at a dealers will typically bring six “dime rocks” from the neighborhood pusher. The pusher will sell that gun, which he has perhaps $25 in, to an addict or a known criminal for $140 to $150.

Besides the difference in price, a gun purchased at a dealer requires an elaborate form to be filled out, and an FBI instant background check. A gun from the local pusher costs less than one fifth the dealer price, and requires only money. So stolen “street guns” obtained from a drug dealer or a friend or family member who is a criminal are criminals weapons of choice. Because a criminal would be pretty dumb to pay four to seven times as much for a crime gun and leave a paper trail leading straight to himself.

That said, police chiefs and criminologists agree that some 73 percent of all murders are a result of “thieves falling out.” People who are partners or rivals in some criminal enterprise murder an associate – most often with a gun that is almost certainly stolen.

That accounts for about 6400 of the United States 8600 or so gun related murders that occurred in 2011.

Another 1200 people are murdered each year by “individuals engaging in criminal activity.” Incidental deaths during a carjacking, armed robbery, home invasion, or other crime.

2009 Crime Clearance by Arrest or Extraordinary Means

Stolen “street guns” were the weapons of choice for the person or persons who killed 7,600 of the estimated* 8,600 gun related murders during 2011. Please click on the graphic for a clearer view.

So that caps the possible number of murders with lawfully purchased guns at just 1,000 – for 2011. Of course, a high percentage of murders are never “solved by arrest” so an exact count is not possible, but it appears that some 800 murders were committed with lawfully purchased guns.

800 out of 8600 is 9.5%, as nearly as the available data allows. So 90.5 percent of murders are committed with stolen guns.

Stranger

About Stranger

A collaborative effort, Extranos Alley is primarily concerned with providing up to date data on the relationships between privately woned firearms and crime, violence, and politics. The site is maintained by nine volunteers who have given up their identity that the work here may be considered without regard to the individual data. The contributors are a diverse group, ranging from a retired physicist to a board certified psychologist.

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2 Responses to What Percentage Of Murders Are Committed With Stolen Guns?

  1. Anonymous says:

    with the question being”what percentage of murders are committed with stolen guns” I believe you mean 90.5% not 9.5%

  2. Stranger says:

    Thanks for the comment and correction. The final sentence of my draft was inadvertently omitted. Fixed now.

    S

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