Criminal Acquisition of Firearms: The Impact of Brady on How Felons Obtain Their Guns

Jeffrey D. Monroe, Penn State University - Abington College

The Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act, passed into law in 1994, intended to reduce handgun availability to criminals and other potentially dangerous persons. Most evaluations of the Brady Act attempt to measure its impact on crime or suicide rates. These studies are limited in that they do not consider whether or not the legislation successfully reduced the availability of handguns to criminals - an important measure when considering the Brady Act's success. Using state-level inmate survey data, the research presented here attempts to measure any impact that the Brady Act may have had on how felons acquire firearms that are later used to commit crimes. Specifically, it considers whether or not the law's implementation affected offenders' use of a secondary firearms market to acquire handguns.

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Updated 05/20/2006