Report: Drug Dealers in US Prefer Handguns Over Rifles

Wednesday, 25 Jun 2014 10:00 AM

By Drew MacKenzie

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The weapons of choice for drug dealers in the United States are handguns, The Guardian reported, citing recent research on small arms.

Between 2007 and 2014, 140,000 small arms were seized in eight U.S. cities, according to the Small Arms Survey 2014. The seizures included 10,345 weapons linked to criminal, drug traffickers, and gang members.

Of those, more than three out of every four firearms, about 77 percent, were ordinary handguns, while 70 percent of the weapons were semi-automatic pistols.

Contrary to TV crime dramas in which the bad guys often use semi-automatic rifles, the survey found that rifles such as the Kalashnikov and AR-15 made up just 12 percent of the weapons seized from criminals, The Guardian said.

The figures also showed that around 5,800 of the firearms were linked to drug-trafficking arrests alone. Seventy percent of those weapons were handguns, mostly semi-automatics.

Emile LeBrun, who helped to write the small arms survey, said: "In American popular culture, especially on television, it's common to see gang members and drug dealers wielding high-powered assault rifles. Shows like 'Breaking Bad' and 'CSI' are recent examples.

"But police actually seize far fewer of those larger long guns from these groups than handguns. That's the sense in which the report may overturn stereotypes."

The survey also revealed that the weapons of choice for drug dealers in Mexico are the opposite of U.S. drug traffickers. A similar small arms study last year showed that south of the border, 72 percent of the guns seized were so-called long guns, such as machine guns, rifles, shotguns, and submachine guns.


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