Federal data show once again that Ohio is a top source for guns involved in crimes in other states, and it remains among the weakest when it comes to gun laws.
Criminals know that, law-enforcement officials say, so it’s no surprise that Ohio guns show up in so many criminal acts in other states.
“People know they can come to Ohio, get a gun, and take it someplace where there are tougher restrictions,” said Columbus Deputy Police Chief Jeffrey Blackwell. “It happens at gun shows in the sticks and through underground schemes on city streets.”
Sometimes, it’s a lot of guns, such as the 183 that ended up involved in New York crimes, or just one, such as the Ohio gun linked to a crime in Vermont.
In all, 1,601 guns were first legally purchased in Ohio last year and then linked to crimes such as robbery and homicide in 36 other states.
An additional 5,375 guns stayed in Ohio and were linked to crimes in 2012, according to a Columbus Dispatch analysis of data from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
In 2011, the number of guns traced back to Ohio from other states was closer to 1,700, with 5,225 staying in the state. Ohio was a top contributor of guns used in crimes in thirty-eight states.
Laura Cutilletta, senior staff attorney for the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, says that the trace data illustrate how easy it is to get guns in Ohio. She said the state has too many loopholes for gun ownership that serve as a “beacon” for a gun-trafficking market.
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