Winter 1996
Law and Contemporary Problems

Since the mid-1980s, there has been a dramatic increase in youth gun violence. In most areas, juveniles and many other youth are legally prohibited from purchasing firearms, especially handguns. As a result, many firearms utilized in youth crimes are obtained through active and pervasive illicit gun markets. There is currently very little being done to address these illicit markets, while at the same time the capacity of police departments to design and implement creative new operational strategies (through "community" and "problem-solving" policing) is increasing. Appraoches focusing on illicit firearms markets thus seem a logical and potentially productive strategy. Finally, while enforcement and prevention efforts have so far paid relatively small dividends in reducing youth gun violence, attacking illicit gun markets is an idea which at least has not yet failed.

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