Special Report

New York State Has the Worst Gun Trafficking Problem in the Nation

TIMOTHY A. CLARY / AFP via Getty Images

The breadth of America’s gun culture is staggering. We own over 400 million guns against a population of about 335 million. While the Second Amendment guarantees the right to bear arms, gun legislation is not the same in all states, with some states having far stricter regulations than others. Yet it is fairly easy to move guns between states. And the state with the worst gun trafficking problem is New York. (See also, states with the shortest time-to-crime for trafficked guns.)

Ironically, New York has some of the strictest gun control laws in the country. In fact, it is among several states, mostly concentrated in the Northeast and along the West Coast, that have relatively tight gun restrictions. For example, New York requires background checks on the sale of all firearms, has assault weapons restrictions, and large capacity magazine ban.

In other states, however, such gun control laws do not exist. The resulting patchwork of regulations has helped criminals create a thriving black market for gun trafficking. Each year, thousands of firearms that were purchased in states with virtually no gun control laws end up in the hands of criminals in states with tight firearm restrictions. (This is how many guns used to commit crimes are traced in every state.)

Of the 5,835 firearms used in crime in New York state that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives tracked in 2021, 84.6% were tracked to out-of-state sources, the highest level in the nation. Of these, 981 came from Georgia, 622 came from Virginia, and 617 came from South Carolina. 

See 24/7 Wall St.’s list of the states with the worst gun trafficking problem.

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