For Immediate Release
Gun Data Shows Weak State Gun Laws Enable Gun Trafficking
WASHINGTON - States with weak gun laws supply guns to criminals in
other states at a rate five times higher than dealers in states with
stronger gun laws, according to a Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence
analysis of newly released crime gun trace data.
The federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF)
recently released nationwide crime gun trace data for 2009 crime guns
recovered by police and traced back to the dealer that sold the gun.
The data shows that Mississippi, for the second year in a row, had the
highest rate of crime guns exported to other states, followed by West
Virginia, Kentucky, Virginia, and Alabama. In contrast, Hawaii, New
Jersey, and Massachusetts, all states with strong gun laws, had the
lowest rates of crime gun exports, with rates less than one crime gun
export per 100,000 people. The Brady Center analysis ranks states on
their contribution to interstate gun trafficking, calculating the rate
of crime gun exports based on the number of guns sold by in-state gun
dealers, which are traced and recovered in crime in another state (per
capita rate calculated per 100,000 people).
Georgia, for the second year running, had the highest sheer volume of
crime guns exported to other states, with 2,771 crime guns sold in
Georgia that were recovered in crime in other states. The other top
five states with the highest total numbers of crime gun exports were
Florida, Virginia, Texas, and Ohio. Each of these states earned fewer
than 20 points on the Brady Campaign 2009 scorecard and has weak gun
laws making it easy for criminals to get guns.
“Weak gun laws are a gun trafficker’s best friend,” said Paul
Helmke, President of the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence.
“Elected leaders in these states need to close the loopholes in
their gun laws that allow criminals easy access to deadly weapons, and
we need to take steps at the national level as well.”
The Brady Center also ranked the states based on their per capita rate
of all crime gun sales based on the number of crime guns traced to gun
dealers in a state and recovered in crime both in-state and out of
Louisiana claims the number one spot on this measure for the second
year in a row, followed by Arizona, Georgia, Indiana, and Virginia.
Each of these states scores fewer than 20 points out of 100 on the Brady
Campaign 2009 scorecard.
By contrast, Hawaii, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New York, had the
lowest rates of crime guns per capita. Each of these states scores in
the top ten on the Brady Campaign 2009 state scorecard.
The ATF crime gun trace data that was released is at
The Brady Center determined state rankings based on ATF crime gun trace
data recently released on its website. The Brady Center analysis
determined that gun dealers in states with weak gun laws supply
criminals in other states with guns at a rate more than five times
higher than in states with stronger gun laws by comparing 2009 per
capita crime gun trace rates among the states having the strongest gun
laws and weakest gun laws on the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun
Violence’s 2009 annual state scorecard. States earning zero stars
on the scorecard had a per capita crime gun trace export rate five times
higher than states that scored 3 or 4 stars. Crime gun data represents
guns recovered in crime and successfully traced back to the gun dealer
that sold the gun.
The Brady state scorecards rate each state on the strength of its gun
laws. They are available at
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The Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence is a national non-profit organization working to reduce gun violence in America through education, research and legal advocacy. Through its Legal Action Project, the Brady Center provides pro bono legal assistance to gun violence victims and public entities seeking to establish legal principles that will reduce gun violence. The Brady Center complements the legislative and grassroots mobilization efforts of its sister organization, the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence with its dedicated network of Million Mom March Chapters.