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B. Challenging The Legal Definition Of A Criminal

Narrator: This is Science Today. Legal handgun owners who had a misdemeanor crime record are seven times more likely to commit crimes involving guns or violence than law abiding gun owners. Dr. Garen Wintemute, who heads the Violence Prevention Research Program at the University of California, Davis, led a fifteen-year study on this controversial topic.

Wintemute: Now, some of the critics of this study have said to quote them directly, A Well, duh! What makes this important is the people we studied, people who legally bought handguns. The question that might arise from this simply is - should we be selling guns to these people?

Narrator: The misdemeanor crimes ranged from assault without a weapon to shoplifting.

Wintemute: What our study has done, for the first time, is go to the data. And we've found evidence that suggests that in addition to the felons and misdemeanor domestic violence offenders who are forbidden guns under federal law, we should perhaps look at whether we want people convicted of other misdemeanors to buy guns.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.