While the initiation of the 2nd Amendment was meant to nub insecurity by offering an environment for legal possession of firearms. There is still a hoard of illegal gun possession, which has led to the increase in gun-related crimes.

Considering the cons associated with gun possession, especially in the wrong hands with statistics indicating that over 90% of gun crime is done with illegal guns. Consistently, in life and death situations, the pros are a critical factor, but the disdain is in the accessibility of illegal guns by criminals.

In this piece, we’ll take you through the most prevalent avenues that criminals continually use to acquire illegal guns, including;

  • Straw Purchase
  • Legally Licenced Stores
  • Theft

Straw Purchase

This occurs when a person circumvents the legal framework of acquiring a gun through a proxy either due to age or for anonymity purposes. This occurs when two individuals go into a gun store and one buys the gun on behalf of the other.

While this may only account for 11% of all illegal possession cases, it’s evidently clear that 1 out of 5 buys the firearm with the intent of using it. This is according to the bureau of justice statistics survey on prison inmates.

The survey further indicates that in assault, robbery, and homicide cases, the perpetrator is 75% more likely to use the firearm. In comparison to State and Federal prisoners, the former is 2.5 times susceptible to using a gun compared to the latter.

Target On Legally Licenced Stores

While the ATF strives not only to track but also curtail the distribution of firearms through the FFLs (Federal Firearms Licences), it’s become increasingly clear that licensed stores are targeted by gun traffickers.

The ATF report indicates that out of the 120, 370 crime guns traced to FFL 27.7% were apprehended in two years’ time after the original sale. This paints a picture of either an unscrupulous purchaser or seller.

The FFLs are more appealing to illegal gun traffickers who then sell the guns on the streets creating a huge avenue for the black market–with a market size that’s 4 times larger compared to the legal stores. This is evident through the Department of Justice 2019 survey that indicates 43% of criminals bought their guns in the black market compared to only 10% who opted for retail purchase.


Firearms theft is one of the major aspects that catalyzes the illicit gun trade. Given the understanding on how the gun can be used by criminals to terrorize communities then it beats logic as to how gun owners do not properly secure their legally owned firearm.

The ATF law enforcers are dealt a hard blow with the incompetence and lazy owners who aren’t cognizant of the threat their unsecured guns possess. And despite the rectification of the law to ensure that stolen guns are reported within 48 hours, only a quarter of the cases are reported.

Given the number of illegal guns out in the streets only a fraction, 23, 775 have been reported missing in the last 26 years. This paints a grim picture of the collective efforts in curtailing illegal gun possession.

Law enforcers lament the difficulty in tracking down stolen firearms and have to endure the gruesome wait until the gun is used in criminal activity for the ballistic analysis to be collected.

Curbing Illegal Gun Possession

The number of violent guns related crimes committed each year is daunting with an average of 40, 000 victims succumbing to death calls for a sobering debate on the better methods in dealing with this vice.

Subsequently, the 2nd amendment has given provisions for civilians to prevent over 6,000 daily crimes and also evade over 498,000 house break-ins in a year. The sides of the coin indicate it isn’t a one fix for all. 

Weighing on both aspects will be crucial in determining effective laws that do not necessarily disarm the 393 million legal American gun owners.


Wilner, R.

Wilner, R. (2021) Gun Control Controversy: Do Guns Save People? | Gun Made, Gun Made. Available at: https://www.gunmade.com/guns-save-people/ (Accessed: 29 October 2021).

Where do criminals really get their guns?

Where do criminals really get their guns? (2020). Available at: https://www.foxnews.com/us/where-do-criminals-get-guns (Accessed: 29 October 2021).

frontline: hot guns: “How Criminals Get Guns” | PBS

frontline: hot guns: “How Criminals Get Guns” | PBS (2021). Available at: https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/guns/procon/guns.html#: (Accessed: 29 October 2021).

Crime and Guns: Insights into the sources of crime guns, their use, regional/international variations, and more.

Crime and Guns: Insights into the sources of crime guns, their use, regional/international variations, and more. (2013). Available at: http://www.gunfacts.info/gun-policy-info/crime-and-guns/#note-93-5 (Accessed: 29 October 2021).

Just Facts – Gun Control

Just Facts – Gun Control (2021). Available at: https://www.justfacts.org/guncontrol.asp (Accessed: 29 October 2021).

Marice Young

Mom, wife, and pro-guns writer. I live in Tolleson, AZ where the crime rate has been higher than almost 99% of American cities. A horrible personal experience made me realize the importance of gun ownership...

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