The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

World, nation, state

June 22, 2013

Ohio a top supplier of guns to other states

COLUMBUS — Gun-control advocates say less-restrictive laws in Ohio led to more than 1,600 weapons being used in crimes in three dozen other states last year.

Federal data released this week show that 1,601 guns legally bought in Ohio last year were linked to crimes such as robbery and murder in 36 other states.

Another 5,375 guns stayed in Ohio and were linked to crimes in 2012, according a story Friday in The Columbus Dispatch based on the data from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

The stats show Ohio also was a top contributor to gun-related crime in other states in 2011, with about 1,700 guns showing up in crimes in 38 other states.

Law enforcement and gun-control advocates say it’s no surprise.

“People know they can come to Ohio, get a gun and take it someplace where there are tougher restrictions,” Columbus Deputy Police Chief Jeffrey Blackwell said. “It happens at gun shows in the sticks and through underground schemes on city streets.”

New York was the leader in imported Ohio guns being used in crimes last year with 183, according to the ATF stats. Michigan was next at 154, followed by Florida at 152.

The Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence says the state has too many loopholes for gun ownership that serve as a “beacon” for a gun-trafficking market. The law doesn’t require background checks for all gun sales, and the state doesn’t keep track of who buys them. Violent misdemeanors, such as domestic violence, don’t disqualify someone from making a firearm purchase.

“When you make it easy to get a gun in a state, I mean, it’s just common sense that people will go there to get a gun, especially in frequent and large amounts,” said Laura Cutilletta, senior staff attorney for the law center.

But supporters of gun rights contend that there will always be criminals who break the laws, no matter how restrictive they are.

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