The illegal possession of firearms and federal firearms offenses are major crimes. They are crimes that law enforcement takes very seriously, so people may end up dealing with authorities who are very eager to move forward with charges. In many cases, weapons are trafficked over state borders, which could be connected to other federal firearms charges. These firearms may work their way from the black market into the regular market for personal firearms.
In recent news, California law enforcement discovered a missing handgun during the arrest of a 25-year-old man. The gun was reported among 79 handguns and rifles that were stolen in the fall of 2007. The .40-caliber semiautomatic weapon was apparently located in the center console of the young man's automobile. The man was stopped for speeding along a U.S. highway in Northern California at the time the weapon was discovered in the car.
According to the driver, the gun belonged to his uncle. He told officers that he took the gun to use for target practice when he was pulled over. Authorities arrested the young man on suspicion of possession of a loaded gun. California authorities take guns particularly seriously.
According to a spokeswoman for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, criminals often buy weapons elsewhere and move them into California where they are later resold, which is why some people can end up in a bit of a conundrum with illegal weapons they believed to be legitimate.
This particular handgun had gone missing after two teenagers robbed a store in Lincoln, Nebraska in October of 2007. The men were later arrested for the robbery, for which one of the men is currently serving time in prison. The other man has been assigned to a community corrections program. To date, authorities have recovered 50 of the 79 stolen weapons, so they are unsure where the rest of the weapons will turn up.
Source: Sacramento Bee, "Gun stolen in Nebraska turns up in California," June 19, 2012