Lead researcher Garen Wintemute is a professor of emergency medicine. He says the wide-range of gun control laws in various states makes it easy for criminals to get their hands on firearms. One big problem, he says, are illegal transactions known as “straw purchases.”
“These are purchases from licensed gun dealers in which the person who’s actually buying the gun is either prohibited from doing that or just doesn’t want it to be known that he is so he hires somebody to do it on his behalf. And we saw lots of those.”
The UC Davis study recommends that police have an expanded presence at gun shows.
Officials with the National Rifle Association declined to comment until they could read the full 300-page report. But in general, gun advocates say any actions that infringe on a law-abiding citizen’s ability to keep and bear arms is unconstitutional.