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Study may refine youth violence prevention efforts

 "" PHOTO - Garen J. Wintemute
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Garen J. Wintemute
   

UC Davis researchers have uncovered distinct patterns in the life cycle of guns used by young people in crimes, which could be used to refine youth violence prevention efforts, according to a study in the June Annals of Emergency Medicine.

In tracing records compiled by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), researchers found that in 1998, 2,121 crime guns were recovered in California from 1,717 people younger than age 25. The possessors of these guns were likely to be male and more than half were not of legal age to purchase handguns.

In addition, recovered crime guns were found to have life cycles from sale to use in a crime of about 6.4 years. "Overall, the time from a gun's sale to its use in a crime was longer in California than nationally," said Garen J. Wintemute, the study's lead author and professor of public health sciences at UC Davis School of Medicine and Medical Center. "This may reflect state policies that interfere with the movement of guns into illegal commerce, such as prohibiting the direct transfers of guns between private parties, which is legal in many other states."

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