Duke prof studying Durham underground gun market

(file photo)

DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) – Durham City leaders are working with youth to help lower gun violence in Durham.

“Guns are being used primarily by younger men,” said Philip Cook, a Duke University professor. “They are the primary weapon for killing in assault situations and they do enormous damage particularly in minority communities.”

Cook is doing research on the underground gun market.

His focus is on legally purchased guns, getting in the wrong hands.


“They get their guns from their social networks, they get them from people they know, they get them from family members, and sometimes they get them from street sources, from drug dealers or from gangs,” he said.

Durham has had nearly two dozen homicides this year.

Cook shared his research findings with city leaders.

“There is more work that we can do to disrupt this underground market and make it difficult for dangerous people to get guns,” he said.

He says in some cases that would involve officers going undercover, and after arrests are made, taking it a step further to ask suspects where the gun was purchased.

Cook says if law enforcement is successful in that, it would have an impact on gun use and violent crime in the city.

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