Patchwork of Gun Laws Assists Traffickers - Miller-McCune
Decentralized regulation in the gun-friendly U.S. creates ample opportunities for guns to leech from lightly regulated areas to stricter locales.
Gun regulations illustrate that there is what amounts to a national patchwork reflecting regional cultural differences around gun politics. And decentralized regulations mean guns have been flowing from states with weak laws into those with much stronger ones.
The range of gun laws in states across the country is vast. Some states demand stricter background checks, and others make it easier to purchase weapons at gun shows. Wisconsin and Illinois don’t offer concealed carry permits, while every other state does. California just outlawed openly carrying an unloaded gun in public. Federal law excludes convicted felons from purchasing guns, but some states add to that black list anyone with a violent misdemeanor on their record.
The cumulative effect is a national patchwork reflecting regional cultural differences around gun politics. But Brown University economist Brian Knight has documented another side effect of this variegated map: Guns in America have been flowing from states with weak laws into those with much stronger ones, as demonstrated by this week’s gun smuggling case announced in New York City.
“What surprised me was the magnitude of the effect,” Knight said. “It turns out that over one-third of guns recovered at crime scenes are originally purchased in other states. In New York, it’s two out of three guns…”