A study performed by a UC Davis professor estimates 70,000 illegal firearms purchases are attempted in gun stores and pawn shops nationally each year.
Professor Garen Wintemute says about half of the attempts are "straw purchases" -or someone buying a gun for someone else. The other attempts are by people trying to buy a gun without going through a background checks, "Retailers have traditionally been a very valuable source of information to law enforcement. They give tips because they hear about what's going on. We should encourage that."
In about three-quarters of the illegal attempts, the dealers informed law enforcement agencies.
Wintemute says half of all trafficking cases involve guns bought by straw buyers.
Nearly 600 dealers responded to the survey. Wintemute's study appears in this week's addition of the journal "Injury Prevention."