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Tulsa criminals get their guns from other buyers
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Tulsa criminals get their guns from other buyers

Tulsa criminals get their guns from other buyers
(Photo) Guns and ammo

Tulsa criminals get their guns from other buyers

The answer to where criminals in Tulsa get their guns is somewhat predictable.

Tulsa Police Sgt. Sean Larkin says there are some cases where criminals have a "straw buyer", a friend or family member who can legally buy the gun and then susequently gives that gun to the criminal.

That of course is highly illegal and both the criminal and the straw buyer can be charged with a crime for it.

But he says most criminals simply steal guns from law-abiding gun owners or get the guns from other criminals who steal from law-abiding gun owners.

What might surprise you is how rarely those law-abiding gun owners keep track of their guns' serial number.

That means it's next to impossible for police to prove guns are stolen when they find them, even in cases where police are virtually certain the guns are stolen because of the criminals' background.

"Y'know, vehicles, when cars are stolen, those are easy to track, because of VIN's and registration and insurance and things like that," Sgt. Larkin said.  "But it's surprising how many people do not track some of  these other items, and being firearms especially."

Hear the entire interview w/ Tulsa Police Sgt. Sean Larkin

He said law-abiding people do a poor job of keeping track of their serial numbers for many other expensive items like TV's and computers too.

He estimates that during the three years he's been on Tulsa's gang task force, they've confiscated more than 500 guns from criminals, but he said very few of those guns can be proved to be stolen.

"That's an extraordinary amount of firearms," he said.  "I bet that percentage of all those that actually come back stolen... I'd say maybe 10 percent."

He said people can do police a big favor by keeping track of the serial numbers for all their guns.

He suggested storing the numbers on smart phones as a good place.

Gun safes can also cut down on the number of guns that are stolen from the homes of law-abiding citizens.

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