Special Report

Where Criminals in Every State Get Their Guns

JOE KLAMAR / AFP via Getty Images

The United States – along with Mexico and Guatemala – is one of just three countries on earth where owning a gun is a constitutional right. But while the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guarantees American citizens the right to keep and bear arms, state governments have considerable leverage over gun control regulations – and buying a gun is much easier in some parts of the country than others. (These are the 22 states where gun sales are rebounding.

In Illinois, for example, gun buyers must be licensed and are legally subject to a waiting period and a background check. Other states, such as California, New Jersey, and New York, have similar laws and also place restrictions on the sale of assault-style rifles. Meanwhile, in states like Georgia, South Carolina, and Texas, none of these regulations apply. This patchwork of gun laws across the U.S. has helped criminals in creating a thriving black market for gun trafficking. 

In 2021, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives traced hundreds of thousands firearms back to where they were originally purchased. Firearms traced by the ATF are typically those found at crime scenes. These guns have either been used, or are suspected to have been used, to commit a crime. Of the nearly 360,000 guns traced back to their source last year, 27% came from out of state. 

Using annual tracing data from the ATF, 24/7 Wall St. identified the largest sources of firearms used in a crime in every state.

Without exception, the largest share of firearms traced by the ATF were originally sold in-state. Meanwhile, those that were determined to be from out of state typically came from a bordering state – though this was not always the case. 

For example, Texas, a state with some of the least restrictive gun laws in the country, was among the top three origin states for firearms traced by the ATF, not including the states it borders. Florida was among the top sources for firearms linked to crime in nine non-bordering states, and Georgia was among the top sources for eight. (These are the firearm calibers used the most to commit crimes in the U.S.

Click here to see where criminals in each state are most likely to get guns.

Click here to see our detailed methodology.

Source: Kruck20 / iStock via Getty Images

Alabama
> Top out-of-state source for guns linked to crime: Georgia (bordering-state); 339 guns, 4.4% of total
> 2nd out-of-state source for guns linked to crime: Mississippi (bordering-state); 219 guns, 2.9% of total
> 3rd out-of-state source for guns linked to crime: Florida (bordering-state); 128 guns, 1.7% of total
> Guns linked to crime sourced in-state: 6,377 guns, 83.1% of total

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Alaska
> Top out-of-state source for guns linked to crime: Washington; 12 guns, 1.9% of total
> 2nd out-of-state source for guns linked to crime: Tie: Florida, Nevada, Oregon, Texas; 9 guns each, 1.4% of total each
> 3rd out-of-state source for guns linked to crime: California; 5 guns, 0.8% of total
> Guns linked to crime sourced in-state: 537 guns, 84.0% of total

Source: Jacob Boomsma / iStock via Getty Images

Arizona
> Top out-of-state source for guns linked to crime: California (bordering-state); 203 guns, 2.0% of total
> 2nd out-of-state source for guns linked to crime: Texas; 144 guns, 1.4% of total
> 3rd out-of-state source for guns linked to crime: New Mexico (bordering-state); 101 guns, 1.0% of total
> Guns linked to crime sourced in-state: 8,523 guns, 84.4% of total

Source: AAron Ontiveroz / Denver Post via Getty Images

Arkansas
> Top out-of-state source for guns linked to crime: Texas (bordering-state); 150 guns, 5.0% of total
> 2nd out-of-state source for guns linked to crime: Tennessee (bordering-state); 90 guns, 3.0% of total
> 3rd out-of-state source for guns linked to crime: Mississippi (bordering-state); 64 guns, 2.1% of total
> Guns linked to crime sourced in-state: 2,358 guns, 78.4% of total

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Source: MattGush / iStock via Getty Images

California
> Top out-of-state source for guns linked to crime: Arizona (bordering-state); 4,725 guns, 14.9% of total
> 2nd out-of-state source for guns linked to crime: Nevada (bordering-state); 2,275 guns, 7.2% of total
> 3rd out-of-state source for guns linked to crime: Texas; 1,653 guns, 5.2% of total
> Guns linked to crime sourced in-state: 15,667 guns, 49.6% of total

Source: seanfboggs / iStock via Getty Images

Colorado
> Top out-of-state source for guns linked to crime: Texas; 221 guns, 3.9% of total
> 2nd out-of-state source for guns linked to crime: New Mexico (bordering-state); 96 guns, 1.7% of total
> 3rd out-of-state source for guns linked to crime: Florida; 95 guns, 1.7% of total
> Guns linked to crime sourced in-state: 4,174 guns, 72.9% of total

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Source: SeanPavonePhoto / iStock via Getty Images

Connecticut
> Top out-of-state source for guns linked to crime: Florida; 83 guns, 7.3% of total
> 2nd out-of-state source for guns linked to crime: Georgia; 82 guns, 7.2% of total
> 3rd out-of-state source for guns linked to crime: South Carolina; 70 guns, 6.1% of total
> Guns linked to crime sourced in-state: 495 guns, 43.3% of total

Source: ChrisBoswell / iStock via Getty Images

Delaware
> Top out-of-state source for guns linked to crime: Pennsylvania (bordering-state); 127 guns, 9.5% of total
> 2nd out-of-state source for guns linked to crime: Virginia; 51 guns, 3.8% of total
> 3rd out-of-state source for guns linked to crime: Georgia; 33 guns, 2.5% of total
> Guns linked to crime sourced in-state: 919 guns, 68.5% of total

Source: Joe Sohm/Visions of America / Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Florida
> Top out-of-state source for guns linked to crime: Georgia (bordering-state); 1,154 guns, 4.0% of total
> 2nd out-of-state source for guns linked to crime: Alabama (bordering-state); 501 guns, 1.7% of total
> 3rd out-of-state source for guns linked to crime: Texas (bordering-state); 392 guns, 1.4% of total
> Guns linked to crime sourced in-state: 22,971 guns, 80.1% of total

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Source: SeanPavonePhoto / iStock via Getty Images

Georgia
> Top out-of-state source for guns linked to crime: Florida (bordering-state); 526 guns, 3.0% of total
> 2nd out-of-state source for guns linked to crime: Alabama (bordering-state); 502 guns, 2.8% of total
> 3rd out-of-state source for guns linked to crime: South Carolina (bordering-state); 426 guns, 2.4% of total
> Guns linked to crime sourced in-state: 14,467 guns, 81.4% of total

Source: unclegene / iStock via Getty Images

Hawaii
> Top out-of-state source for guns linked to crime: Alaska; 9 guns, 15.8% of total
> 2nd out-of-state source for guns linked to crime: Tie: California, Florida; 4 guns each, 7.0% of total each
> 3rd out-of-state source for guns linked to crime: Oregon; 3 guns, 5.3% of total
> Guns linked to crime sourced in-state: 12 guns, 21.1% of total

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Idaho
> Top out-of-state source for guns linked to crime: Washington (bordering-state); 71 guns, 6.2% of total
> 2nd out-of-state source for guns linked to crime: Oregon (bordering-state); 46 guns, 4.0% of total
> 3rd out-of-state source for guns linked to crime: Montana (bordering-state); 43 guns, 3.8% of total
> Guns linked to crime sourced in-state: 764 guns, 67.0% of total

Source: franckreporter / E+ via Getty Images

Illinois
> Top out-of-state source for guns linked to crime: Indiana (bordering-state); 2,601 guns, 17.6% of total
> 2nd out-of-state source for guns linked to crime: Missouri (bordering-state); 867 guns, 5.9% of total
> 3rd out-of-state source for guns linked to crime: Wisconsin (bordering-state); 584 guns, 3.9% of total
> Guns linked to crime sourced in-state: 6,955 guns, 47.0% of total

Source: Sean Pavone / iStock via Getty Images

Indiana
> Top out-of-state source for guns linked to crime: Kentucky (bordering-state); 237 guns, 2.7% of total
> 2nd out-of-state source for guns linked to crime: Illinois (bordering-state); 186 guns, 2.1% of total
> 3rd out-of-state source for guns linked to crime: Ohio (bordering-state); 163 guns, 1.9% of total
> Guns linked to crime sourced in-state: 7,247 guns, 82.8% of total

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Source: pabradyphoto / iStock via Getty Images

Iowa
> Top out-of-state source for guns linked to crime: Illinois (bordering-state); 74 guns, 3.4% of total
> 2nd out-of-state source for guns linked to crime: Missouri (bordering-state); 59 guns, 2.7% of total
> 3rd out-of-state source for guns linked to crime: Texas; 37 guns, 1.7% of total
> Guns linked to crime sourced in-state: 1,598 guns, 74.5% of total

Source: Sean Pavone / iStock via Getty Images

Kansas
> Top out-of-state source for guns linked to crime: Missouri (bordering-state); 469 guns, 13.2% of total
> 2nd out-of-state source for guns linked to crime: Oklahoma (bordering-state); 107 guns, 3.0% of total
> 3rd out-of-state source for guns linked to crime: Texas; 71 guns, 2.0% of total
> Guns linked to crime sourced in-state: 2,485 guns, 70.2% of total

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Source: Sean Pavone / iStock via Getty Images

Kentucky
> Top out-of-state source for guns linked to crime: Indiana (bordering-state); 270 guns, 4.7% of total
> 2nd out-of-state source for guns linked to crime: Ohio (bordering-state); 175 guns, 3.1% of total
> 3rd out-of-state source for guns linked to crime: Tennessee (bordering-state); 167 guns, 2.9% of total
> Guns linked to crime sourced in-state: 4,566 guns, 79.7% of total

Source: DenisTangneyJr / iStock via Getty Images

Louisiana
> Top out-of-state source for guns linked to crime: Texas (bordering-state); 724 guns, 6.4% of total
> 2nd out-of-state source for guns linked to crime: Mississippi (bordering-state); 384 guns, 3.4% of total
> 3rd out-of-state source for guns linked to crime: Alabama; 128 guns, 1.1% of total
> Guns linked to crime sourced in-state: 9,199 guns, 81.0% of total

Source: SeanPavonePhoto / iStock via Getty Images

Maine
> Top out-of-state source for guns linked to crime: New Hampshire (bordering-state); 17 guns, 4.5% of total
> 2nd out-of-state source for guns linked to crime: Florida; 7 guns, 1.9% of total
> 3rd out-of-state source for guns linked to crime: Texas; 6 guns, 1.6% of total
> Guns linked to crime sourced in-state: 299 guns, 79.9% of total

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Maryland
> Top out-of-state source for guns linked to crime: Virginia (bordering-state); 1,128 guns, 16.8% of total
> 2nd out-of-state source for guns linked to crime: Georgia; 376 guns, 5.6% of total
> 3rd out-of-state source for guns linked to crime: Pennsylvania (bordering-state); 325 guns, 4.8% of total
> Guns linked to crime sourced in-state: 2,941 guns, 43.8% of total

Source: SeanPavonePhoto / iStock via Getty Images

Massachusetts
> Top out-of-state source for guns linked to crime: New Hampshire (bordering-state); 246 guns, 11.6% of total
> 2nd out-of-state source for guns linked to crime: Georgia; 177 guns, 8.4% of total
> 3rd out-of-state source for guns linked to crime: Maine; 160 guns, 7.6% of total
> Guns linked to crime sourced in-state: 654 guns, 30.9% of total

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Michigan
> Top out-of-state source for guns linked to crime: Ohio (bordering-state); 355 guns, 3.3% of total
> 2nd out-of-state source for guns linked to crime: Kentucky; 215 guns, 2.0% of total
> 3rd out-of-state source for guns linked to crime: Indiana (bordering-state); 169 guns, 1.6% of total
> Guns linked to crime sourced in-state: 8,590 guns, 80.3% of total

Source: Gian Lorenzo Ferretti Photography / E+ via Getty Images

Minnesota
> Top out-of-state source for guns linked to crime: Wisconsin (bordering-state); 205 guns, 5.3% of total
> 2nd out-of-state source for guns linked to crime: Florida; 117 guns, 3.0% of total
> 3rd out-of-state source for guns linked to crime: North Dakota (bordering-state); 74 guns, 1.9% of total
> Guns linked to crime sourced in-state: 2,704 guns, 70.0% of total

Source: SeanPavonePhoto / iStock via Getty Images

Mississippi
> Top out-of-state source for guns linked to crime: Louisiana (bordering-state); 164 guns, 4.0% of total
> 2nd out-of-state source for guns linked to crime: Tennessee (bordering-state); 139 guns, 3.4% of total
> 3rd out-of-state source for guns linked to crime: Alabama (bordering-state); 132 guns, 3.2% of total
> Guns linked to crime sourced in-state: 3,294 guns, 79.5% of total

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Source: Sean Pavone / iStock via Getty Images

Missouri
> Top out-of-state source for guns linked to crime: Kansas (bordering-state); 556 guns, 6.4% of total
> 2nd out-of-state source for guns linked to crime: Illinois (bordering-state); 248 guns, 2.9% of total
> 3rd out-of-state source for guns linked to crime: Texas; 109 guns, 1.3% of total
> Guns linked to crime sourced in-state: 6,896 guns, 79.6% of total

Source: Jon Bilous / iStock via Getty Images

Montana
> Top out-of-state source for guns linked to crime: Washington; 28 guns, 3.2% of total
> 2nd out-of-state source for guns linked to crime: California; 19 guns, 2.2% of total
> 3rd out-of-state source for guns linked to crime: Florida; 15 guns, 1.7% of total
> Guns linked to crime sourced in-state: 627 guns, 72.0% of total

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Nebraska
> Top out-of-state source for guns linked to crime: Iowa (bordering-state); 159 guns, 8.9% of total
> 2nd out-of-state source for guns linked to crime: Texas; 51 guns, 2.9% of total
> 3rd out-of-state source for guns linked to crime: Missouri (bordering-state); 48 guns, 2.7% of total
> Guns linked to crime sourced in-state: 1,142 guns, 63.9% of total

Source: f11photo / iStock via Getty Images

Nevada
> Top out-of-state source for guns linked to crime: California (bordering-state); 315 guns, 5.7% of total
> 2nd out-of-state source for guns linked to crime: Arizona (bordering-state); 296 guns, 5.3% of total
> 3rd out-of-state source for guns linked to crime: Texas; 114 guns, 2.1% of total
> Guns linked to crime sourced in-state: 3,897 guns, 70.3% of total

Source: Sean Pavone / iStock via Getty Images

New Hampshire
> Top out-of-state source for guns linked to crime: Maine (bordering-state); 17 guns, 3.1% of total
> 2nd out-of-state source for guns linked to crime: Tie: New York, North Carolina, Vermont (bordering-state); 14 guns each, 2.5% of total each
> 3rd out-of-state source for guns linked to crime: Florida; 12 guns, 2.2% of total
> Guns linked to crime sourced in-state: 401 guns, 72.5% of total

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Source: ChrisBoswell / iStock via Getty Images

New Jersey
> Top out-of-state source for guns linked to crime: Pennsylvania (bordering-state); 496 guns, 15.5% of total
> 2nd out-of-state source for guns linked to crime: Georgia; 409 guns, 12.8% of total
> 3rd out-of-state source for guns linked to crime: South Carolina; 309 guns, 9.7% of total
> Guns linked to crime sourced in-state: 520 guns, 16.2% of total

Source: Sean Pavone / iStock via Getty Images

New Mexico
> Top out-of-state source for guns linked to crime: Texas (bordering-state); 177 guns, 5.5% of total
> 2nd out-of-state source for guns linked to crime: Arizona (bordering-state); 74 guns, 2.3% of total
> 3rd out-of-state source for guns linked to crime: Colorado (bordering-state); 57 guns, 1.8% of total
> Guns linked to crime sourced in-state: 2,623 guns, 81.7% of total

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New York
> Top out-of-state source for guns linked to crime: Georgia; 981 guns, 14.2% of total
> 2nd out-of-state source for guns linked to crime: Virginia; 622 guns, 9.0% of total
> 3rd out-of-state source for guns linked to crime: South Carolina; 617 guns, 8.9% of total
> Guns linked to crime sourced in-state: 1,061 guns, 15.4% of total

Source: Kruck20 / iStock via Getty Images

North Carolina
> Top out-of-state source for guns linked to crime: South Carolina (bordering-state); 1,223 guns, 6.4% of total
> 2nd out-of-state source for guns linked to crime: Virginia (bordering-state); 703 guns, 3.7% of total
> 3rd out-of-state source for guns linked to crime: Georgia (bordering-state); 467 guns, 2.5% of total
> Guns linked to crime sourced in-state: 14,446 guns, 76.0% of total

Source: DenisTangneyJr / iStock Unreleased via Getty Images

North Dakota
> Top out-of-state source for guns linked to crime: Minnesota (bordering-state); 45 guns, 7.2% of total
> 2nd out-of-state source for guns linked to crime: Texas; 21 guns, 3.4% of total
> 3rd out-of-state source for guns linked to crime: Montana (bordering-state); 13 guns, 2.1% of total
> Guns linked to crime sourced in-state: 427 guns, 68.5% of total

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Source: ChrisBoswell / iStock via Getty Images

Ohio
> Top out-of-state source for guns linked to crime: Kentucky (bordering-state); 537 guns, 3.0% of total
> 2nd out-of-state source for guns linked to crime: Indiana (bordering-state); 234 guns, 1.3% of total
> 3rd out-of-state source for guns linked to crime: West Virginia (bordering-state); 229 guns, 1.3% of total
> Guns linked to crime sourced in-state: 15,440 guns, 85.4% of total

Source: Sean Pavone / iStock via Getty Images

Oklahoma
> Top out-of-state source for guns linked to crime: Texas (bordering-state); 240 guns, 5.4% of total
> 2nd out-of-state source for guns linked to crime: Arkansas (bordering-state); 90 guns, 2.0% of total
> 3rd out-of-state source for guns linked to crime: Missouri (bordering-state); 71 guns, 1.6% of total
> Guns linked to crime sourced in-state: 3,517 guns, 78.7% of total

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Source: Sean Pavone / iStock via Getty Images

Oregon
> Top out-of-state source for guns linked to crime: Washington (bordering-state); 282 guns, 6.6% of total
> 2nd out-of-state source for guns linked to crime: California (bordering-state); 163 guns, 3.8% of total
> 3rd out-of-state source for guns linked to crime: Idaho (bordering-state); 66 guns, 1.5% of total
> Guns linked to crime sourced in-state: 3,232 guns, 75.3% of total

Source: peeterv / E+ via Getty Images

Pennsylvania
> Top out-of-state source for guns linked to crime: Georgia; 309 guns, 2.7% of total
> 2nd out-of-state source for guns linked to crime: Ohio (bordering-state); 261 guns, 2.3% of total
> 3rd out-of-state source for guns linked to crime: Virginia; 259 guns, 2.3% of total
> Guns linked to crime sourced in-state: 8,824 guns, 77.5% of total

Source: SeanPavonePhoto / iStock via Getty Images

Rhode Island
> Top out-of-state source for guns linked to crime: Massachusetts (bordering-state); 34 guns, 6.6% of total
> 2nd out-of-state source for guns linked to crime: Florida; 24 guns, 4.7% of total
> 3rd out-of-state source for guns linked to crime: New Hampshire; 23 guns, 4.5% of total
> Guns linked to crime sourced in-state: 277 guns, 53.9% of total

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South Carolina
> Top out-of-state source for guns linked to crime: North Carolina (bordering-state); 510 guns, 5.4% of total
> 2nd out-of-state source for guns linked to crime: Georgia (bordering-state); 390 guns, 4.1% of total
> 3rd out-of-state source for guns linked to crime: Florida; 176 guns, 1.9% of total
> Guns linked to crime sourced in-state: 7,516 guns, 79.7% of total

Source: peeterv / iStock via Getty Images

South Dakota
> Top out-of-state source for guns linked to crime: Colorado; 19 guns, 3.0% of total
> 2nd out-of-state source for guns linked to crime: Minnesota (bordering-state); 14 guns, 2.2% of total
> 3rd out-of-state source for guns linked to crime: Wyoming (bordering-state); 13 guns, 2.0% of total
> Guns linked to crime sourced in-state: 451 guns, 70.7% of total

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Source: Kruck20 / iStock via Getty Images

Tennessee
> Top out-of-state source for guns linked to crime: Mississippi (bordering-state); 1,039 guns, 8.1% of total
> 2nd out-of-state source for guns linked to crime: Georgia (bordering-state); 512 guns, 4.0% of total
> 3rd out-of-state source for guns linked to crime: Kentucky (bordering-state); 268 guns, 2.1% of total
> Guns linked to crime sourced in-state: 9,072 guns, 71.0% of total

Source: f11photo / iStock via Getty Images

Texas
> Top out-of-state source for guns linked to crime: Louisiana (bordering-state); 1,084 guns, 2.8% of total
> 2nd out-of-state source for guns linked to crime: Oklahoma (bordering-state); 439 guns, 1.1% of total
> 3rd out-of-state source for guns linked to crime: Mississippi; 386 guns, 1.0% of total
> Guns linked to crime sourced in-state: 33,736 guns, 85.9% of total

Source: Sean Pavone / iStock via Getty Images

Utah
> Top out-of-state source for guns linked to crime: California; 50 guns, 2.0% of total
> 2nd out-of-state source for guns linked to crime: Nevada (bordering-state); 49 guns, 2.0% of total
> 3rd out-of-state source for guns linked to crime: Idaho (bordering-state); 47 guns, 1.9% of total
> Guns linked to crime sourced in-state: 1,962 guns, 78.6% of total

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Source: SeanPavonePhoto / iStock via Getty Images

Vermont
> Top out-of-state source for guns linked to crime: New Hampshire (bordering-state); 11 guns, 5.7% of total
> 2nd out-of-state source for guns linked to crime: Tie: New York (bordering-state), Ohio; 3 guns each, 1.5% of total each
> 3rd out-of-state source for guns linked to crime: Tie: Connecticut (bordering-state), North Carolina; 2 guns each, 1.0% of total each
> Guns linked to crime sourced in-state: 162 guns, 83.5% of total

Source: ferrantraite / E+ via Getty Images

Virginia
> Top out-of-state source for guns linked to crime: North Carolina (bordering-state); 274 guns, 2.7% of total
> 2nd out-of-state source for guns linked to crime: Georgia; 147 guns, 1.4% of total
> 3rd out-of-state source for guns linked to crime: Florida; 132 guns, 1.3% of total
> Guns linked to crime sourced in-state: 8,614 guns, 84.1% of total

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Source: SEASTOCK / iStock via Getty Images

Washington
> Top out-of-state source for guns linked to crime: Oregon (bordering-state); 230 guns, 5.4% of total
> 2nd out-of-state source for guns linked to crime: Idaho (bordering-state); 155 guns, 3.6% of total
> 3rd out-of-state source for guns linked to crime: Montana; 79 guns, 1.8% of total
> Guns linked to crime sourced in-state: 3,200 guns, 74.6% of total

Source: Aneese / iStock via Getty Images

West Virginia
> Top out-of-state source for guns linked to crime: Ohio (bordering-state); 86 guns, 6.2% of total
> 2nd out-of-state source for guns linked to crime: Virginia (bordering-state); 47 guns, 3.4% of total
> 3rd out-of-state source for guns linked to crime: Kentucky (bordering-state); 36 guns, 2.6% of total
> Guns linked to crime sourced in-state: 1,057 guns, 76.0% of total

Source: peeterv / iStock via Getty Images

Wisconsin
> Top out-of-state source for guns linked to crime: Illinois (bordering-state); 136 guns, 2.2% of total
> 2nd out-of-state source for guns linked to crime: Indiana; 76 guns, 1.2% of total
> 3rd out-of-state source for guns linked to crime: Texas; 63 guns, 1.0% of total
> Guns linked to crime sourced in-state: 5,200 guns, 84.6% of total

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Source: DenisTangneyJr / E+ via Getty Images

Wyoming
> Top out-of-state source for guns linked to crime: Colorado (bordering-state); 12 guns, 5.2% of total
> 2nd out-of-state source for guns linked to crime: Montana (bordering-state); 10 guns, 4.4% of total
> 3rd out-of-state source for guns linked to crime: Idaho (bordering-state); 9 guns, 3.9% of total
> Guns linked to crime sourced in-state: 135 guns, 59.0% of total

Methodology

To identify the top sources of guns linked to crime in each state, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed data from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives. For each state, we identified the top three states – or more in the case of a tie – where the most guns traced by the ATF in 2021 were originally purchased. 

We also included the share of all traced firearms for which a source state could be identified that came from each source state. 

Guns that are traced by the ATF are typically those found at crime scenes. These are guns that  have either been used, or are suspected to have been used, to commit a crime. It is important to note, however, that not all firearms used in a crime are traced.

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