Stephen J.LurieMD, PhD, Senior EditorIndividualAuthorJody W.ZylkeMD, Contributing EditorIndividualAuthor
To the Editor: The article by Dr Wintemute and colleagues1 on the effect of denying handgun purchases to persons convicted of some misdemeanors contains a number of flaws. The most serious flaw, which undermines their approach to studying the effectiveness of gun laws, is that only legal handgun purchases were studied. However, in a survey cited by the authors,2 barely one fourth of prisoners obtained guns from gun dealers. Also, Wintemute et al counted 546 arrests for new crimes among 1654 subjects over a 3-year period, during which time California reported almost 1 million adult FBI index crime arrests and about 600 000 arrests for violent or gun crimes.3 These data suggest that their sample is atypical.
Blackman PH. Denial of Handgun Purchase to Violent Misdemeanants. JAMA. 2001;285(21):2715-2716. doi:10.1001/jama.285.21.2715