Narrator: This is Science Today. A recent study has found people convicted of gun-related misdemeanors, who later bought hand guns, were more likely to be arrested for new gun-related or violent crimes. Garen Wintemute, director of the Violence Prevention Research Program at the University of California, Davis, led the study.
Wintemute: Misdemeanors are less serious crimes. A simple assault for example, an assault that doesn't involve the use of a weapon. Or crimes such as brandishing a firearm or carrying a firearm concealed in public without a permit, or shoplifting or drinking and driving. And it's people with those sorts of convictions that we studied.
Narrator: These findings bring to light an ongoing question - does possession of a gun engender crime?
Wintemute: We have a chicken and egg problem here. At the macro level, it's clear that crime rates and gun sales go up and down together. Whether it's that rises in crime rates drive gun purchases or whether more guns are making more crime happen - nobody knows for sure.
Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.