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HomeMinnesota Breaking NewsThis Is the Average ‘Time-to-Crime’ for Firearms in Minnesota

This Is the Average ‘Time-to-Crime’ for Firearms in Minnesota

Bullet HoleGun control laws vary across the U.S., and five states and the District of Columbia currently impose a waiting period on prospective gun buyers. Waiting periods mandate that a specific amount of time must elapse between when a gun is purchased and when the buyer can possess it. Depending on the state, waiting periods range from three days to two weeks.

Designed to reduce the likelihood of an impulsive act of violence, waiting periods have been shown, in some studies, to reduce rates of firearm suicide by 7% to 11%, and gun-related homicides by about 17%. (Here is a look at the states where gun related crimes are surging.)

Though waiting periods may reduce gun violence to a degree, in reality, most firearms that wind up at crime scenes were purchased years prior. Among all known firearms linked to a crime in 2021, an average of 6.2 years has elapsed between the retail sale of the firearm and when it was recovered by law enforcement, according to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives. This measure, known as “time-to-crime,” can vary substantially from state to state, and these variations have meaningful implications. For any given firearm, the ATF considers a time-to-crime of less than three years a potential red flag for gun trafficking.

The average time-to-crime for a firearm recovered by law enforcement in Minnesota is 6.3 years, the 23rd shortest among states.

Of the 3,759 guns recovered in Minnesota in 2021, 1,955, or 52.0%, were sold by a retailer within the last three years, and 1,231, or 32.7% were sold within one year.

All time-to-crime measures in this story are for firearms the ATF traced in 2021.

State Average Time-to-Crime (years) Total guns traced by ATF Guns recovered within 1-yr. of retail sale (%) Guns recovered within 3-yrs. of retail sale (%)
Alabama 5.62 7,459 34.1% 58.7%
Alaska 8.29 601 20.6% 40.8%
Arizona 5.28 10,067 39.5% 61.1%
Arkansas 5.7 2,912 35.6% 58.7%
California 8.92 31,429 23.8% 41.6%
Colorado 6.59 5,699 28.3% 49.6%
Connecticut 9.07 1,132 24.3% 40.3%
Delaware 6.55 1,330 34.8% 56.8%
Florida 6.29 28,394 28.0% 49.7%
Georgia 5.22 17,569 37.1% 60.8%
Hawaii 15.98 57 5.3% 10.5%
Idaho 6.89 1,136 23.9% 46.4%
Illinois 5.63 14,610 34.2% 56.0%
Indiana 5.27 8,646 36.7% 60.2%
Iowa 5.91 2,118 34.6% 56.4%
Kansas 6.23 3,464 27.4% 49.9%
Kentucky 5.14 5,647 36.9% 58.8%
Louisiana 5.93 11,237 34.6% 55.4%
Maine 8.03 372 29.0% 46.8%
Maryland 8.75 6,626 22.2% 41.1%
Massachusetts 8.12 2,065 23.5% 42.1%
Michigan 4.68 10,529 44.0% 65.0%
Minnesota 6.27 3,759 32.7% 52.0%
Mississippi 5.23 4,099 36.8% 60.4%
Missouri 5.02 8,446 32.7% 57.2%
Montana 8.66 851 21.7% 42.4%
Nebraska 7.65 1,770 24.5% 44.9%
Nevada 5.46 5,482 37.9% 59.5%
New Hampshire 8.28 551 23.4% 43.4%
New Jersey 9.2 3,169 20.8% 39.9%
New Mexico 6.31 3,136 32.5% 55.3%
New York 9.47 6,807 21.0% 40.3%
North Carolina 6.04 18,523 32.6% 55.7%
North Dakota 6.79 598 27.3% 48.7%
Ohio 5.18 17,980 37.3% 59.7%
Oklahoma 6.64 4,348 28.4% 50.8%
Oregon 8.34 4,270 23.3% 43.3%
Pennsylvania 6.71 11,312 35.1% 54.6%
Rhode Island 5.85 511 35.4% 54.6%
South Carolina 5.29 9,361 35.6% 58.6%
South Dakota 6.86 568 29.6% 50.2%
Tennessee 5.65 12,520 32.9% 56.0%
Texas 5.16 38,758 35.6% 58.3%
Utah 6.79 2,484 25.4% 45.1%
Vermont 7.8 194 25.3% 46.9%
Virginia 5.47 10,164 37.5% 60.5%
Washington 8.76 4,248 21.3% 39.9%
West Virginia 7.84 1,371 27.1% 46.7%
Wisconsin 5.18 6,075 36.6% 58.4%
Wyoming 8.29 228 22.8% 42.5%
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