Junk guns are cheap and easily concealed, and they lack important safety features.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms study makes clear that junk guns are the preferred weapons of juvenile criminals.
The information collected by the bureau shows that junk guns are used in eight of every 10 cases when criminals 17 and younger use firearms.
Interestingly, the study shows that the youngest criminals tend to favor the smallest, lightest and cheapest junk guns, such as the ultra-compact Raven .
Among criminals 18 through 24, junk guns are still favored, although higher-powered semiautomatic pistols begin to gain popularity.
Criminals 25 and older use junk guns far less frequently, preferring higher-powered weapons.
The youngest criminals choose the smallest, lowest caliber, least expensive junk guns - most of which are manufactured in Southern California.
Ironically, in 1968 The American Rifleman, an official National Rifle Association publication, printed an editorial calling for an end to the importation of concealable junk guns due to their inferior quality and use in crime.
More recently, the gun industry magazine Guns and Ammo (like a Consumer Reports for the firearms industry), has contained numerous reviews of junk guns produced by Southern California manufacturers such as Bryco, Lorein and Davis, concluding that most of their guns were so poorly made that gun buyers could not depend on them to be safe or reliable for self-defense or sport shooting purposes.
Newly released data from the ATF shows that in 1996, the three firearms most frequently traced at crime scenes were junk guns made in the United States (foreign-made junk guns were banned from importation in 1968).
The logic behind the local junk gun bans rest on the notion that the usefulness of these weapons is outweighed by their dangers to consumers and to society.