Illinois and Chicago maintain some stiff gun laws, but recently released federal statistics suggest a lot of guns seized last year by police in Illinois came from a source beyond the reach of those laws: Indiana.
The relationship seems intuitive, said Chicago-based Special Agent Thomas Ahern of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. The states share a border, and Chicago contains no gun stores.
Ahern said it would be hard to deny the connection between what the ATF calls "source states" and weaker gun laws. Any gun that ends up pointed at a gas station clerk or tucked into a felon's pants could once be found on a store shelf, Ahern noted.
"All guns throughout the United States start out legal. Somewhere down the road, they become illegal," Ahern said.
That makes sense, doesn't it? Guns start out as legally owned products and somewhere along the line end up in the hands of criminals.
The stats show Indiana was, by far, the leading out-of-state supplier of guns recovered by police in Illinois in 2008, then traced by the ATF to a "source state," the last state in which the gun was legally sold.
Actually, this presents a bit of a problem. Given the lax gun laws throughout the country, it is not really possible to know "the last state in which the gun was legally sold." To know that we would have to require background checks and registration of all private sales of guns as well as those from licensed gun dealers. The way it works now, there could be a number of totally legal transfers of a gun done privately with no records whatsoever. This is a problem.
But the main point of the article seems clear. States with lax gun laws like Indiana are the source of guns in places like Chicago where the laws are strict. This is also a problem and the solution is obvious.
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