Reports Demonstrate the Negative Impact of State-by-State "Patchwork" Approach to Gun Legislation as Criminals Traffic Firearms from States with Weak Laws to States with Strong Laws
Washington D.C., October 30, 2017— A new analysis by the City of Chicago and recently-released data from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) are providing a unique glimpse into the sources of firearms used to commit crimes, and how variations among state laws directly impact public safety.
"These reports confirm what we've been worried about for years," said Avery Gardiner, Co-President of the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence. "State laws that expand background checks to all gun sales are effective at saving lives, but without federal standards, it is still too easy for criminals to get guns. They just cross state lines to purchase the guns they are using to terrorize cities like Chicago."
When law enforcement officers find a gun at a crime scene, they typically work with the ATF to identify where the crime gun was sold, and who bought it. In Chicago, almost 60% of crime guns are purchased out of state -- including a whopping 21% from neighboring state Indiana, which has significantly weaker gun laws. Brady's analysis of ATF data confirms that this is a nationwide phenomenon.. Based on Brady's analysis, in the ten states with the weakest gun laws, criminals tend to buy their guns in-state: only 24% of crime guns recovered in those states were purchased out of state. But in the ten states with the strongest gun laws, almost half (45%) of crime guns were imported. "This is a clear indication that stronger state laws are working, but they are being undermined by neighboring states' weak laws," added Gardiner.
The Chicago report also names specific local Bad Apple gun dealers who combine to sell nearly 25% of crime guns in the city. At the top of that list is Chuck's Gun Shop, which alone provides 7% of Chicago's crime guns. While most gun stores follow both the spirit and the letter of the law in trying to keep guns out of dangerous hands, other like Chuck's simply flood the streets of Chicago with thousands of guns. Mayor Rahm Emanuel of Chicago summarized the city's effort in a press release related to the report in saying, "Children, families and all residents in every neighborhood of Chicago deserve to live free from violence and safe to pursue their dreams." The Brady Campaign strongly supports Mayor Emanuel's efforts and encourages other cities to take a similar "hands-on" approach to understand their own gun violence issues in order to save lives.
A link to the Chicago Report and the new ATF Data can be found here:
Brady has one powerful mission — to unite all Americans against gun violence. We work across Congress, the courts, and our communities with over 90 grassroots chapters, bringing together young and old, red and blue, and every shade of color to find common ground in common sense. In the spirit of our namesakes Jim and Sarah Brady, we have fought for over 45 years to take action, not sides, and we will not stop until this epidemic ends. It’s in our hands.