Weapons of choice: Previous criminal history, later criminal activity, and firearm preference among legally authorized young adult purchasers of handguns

Garen J Wintemute, Carrie A. Parham, Mona A. Wright, James J. Beaumont, Christiana M. Drake

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

13 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objective: To determine whether there is an association between criminal activity and preference for a particular class of handgun among young adults who purchase handguns legally. Design: Historical cohort study. Materials and Methods: Subjects were 5,360 authorized purchasers of handguns in California in 1988 who were 21 to 25 years of age, divided into two groups: all eligible purchasers with a previous criminal history (n = 2,765), and a random sample of purchasers with no such history (n = 2,595). Handguns were classified as small and inexpensive or larger and expensive. Associations were assessed by relative risks adjusted for gender and race or ethnicity. Measurements and Main Results: Handgun purchasers with a previous criminal history were more likely than those without such a history to purchase a small, inexpensive handgun (relative risk (RR) = 1.28; 95% confidence interval (CI), 1.16- 1.42). Among handgun purchasers with no previous criminal history, those who purchased a small, inexpensive handgun were more likely than purchasers of other handguns to be charged with new crimes after handgun purchase (RR = 1.73; 95% CI, 1.34-2.24) and were nearly twice as likely to charged with new crimes involving firearms or violence (RR = 1.93; 95% CI, 1.38-2.69). Conclusion: In this population, criminal activity both before and after handgun purchase was associated with a preference for small, inexpensive handguns.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)155-160
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Trauma - Injury, Infection and Critical Care
Volume44
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1998

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery

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