I need a little help. I’m attempting to put together data on criminal firearms use. I need data on the criminal use of unlicensed, individually manufactured firearms: i.e.- zip guns, firearms home-built from 80% receivers, 3D-printed firearms, and the like. This would exclude licensed manufacture of firearms whose serial numbers were obliterated.
I’ve spent a couple of days searching for reports, papers, news stories… pretty much anything. I can find no collated data on such use. My usual search-fu has failed me.
I do find news opinion propaganda pieces in which some police officer or other official makes a blanket — yet somehow undocumented — claim that such weapons are turning up at crime scenes more and more often. I want data on that.
What I have found is three reports of firearm, home-built from 80% receivers, used in killings in the past five years (Zawahri, 2013; Bertics, 2015; Neal, 2017). I expected more. (Unsurprisingly, all were in gun-controlled California).
I also found two reports of people making and selling such unserialized firearms… to undercover agents. Again, both cases in California; go figure.
I have not found a single report of a 3D-printed firearm — plastic or metallic — being used in crime. There were four “firearms” reportedly found by TSA in carry-on baggage; one an object that even the TSA referred to only as a “replica,” and three AR lowers, of which at least one resulted in no charges, but was voluntarily abandoned, leading me to suspect it was still an 80%. The report on the other two did not mention charges one way or the other; none of the lowers were pictured.
The lack of 3D-printed firearm in crime doesn’t surprise me, but I expected to see more 80%-based gear, and even the occasional zip gun.
If anyone can point me to collected data on criminal use (mostly use in crime beyond the offense of making/selling, but that, too), I would greatly appreciate it.
Otherwise, I’m going to have to go the FOIA route with the ATF, and that’s going to take money I don’t have (see PayPal link below, if you’d like to help that way). And likely a lot of time. Surely, someone has researched this before.
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