An important component to the ATF data, in addition to where the firearms trace to, and the time-to-crime, is exactly how many traces don’t resolve to any particular state. There are a few reasons this could happen. The firearm could have been smuggled into the country from overseas. The firearm could have been purchased prior to 1968, when the feds started requiring dealers to keep form 4473. Dealers are only required to hold 4473 for twenty years. A gun that gets sold, but stays with its legal owner for twenty years before being stolen or sold might fail to trace. Let’s take a look at Pennsylvania and some of the other surrounding states, and states of note, and see exactly how many traces don’t go anywhere.
- Pennsylvania traced a total if 9092 firearms in 2006. Only 5607 guns were traced back to a specific state of origin. 38% of firearms traced failed to trace back to a state of origin.
- New York traced 11893 firearms in 2006. Only 6085 traced back to a state of origin. 48% of firearms traces identified no state of origin.
- New Jersey traced 3543 firearms. Only 1878 traced back to a state. 46% of firearms traced identified no state of origin.
- Delaware trace 1023 firearms in 2006. 585 identified states of origin. 42% of firearms traced in Delaware had no identifiable state of origin.
- Maryland trace 7025 firearms in 2006. 4156 identified states of origin. 40% of firearms traced in Maryland had no identifiable state of origin.
- West Virginia traced 984 firearms in 2006. 628 traced to a state. 36% of firearms traced had no identifiable state of origin.
- Ohio traced 8627 firearms in 2006. 5695 traced to a state. 33% of traces could identify no state.
- Massachusetts traced 1644 firearms in 2006. 974 traced to a state. 40% of all traces could identify no state of origin.
- California traced a whopping 21223 firearms in 2006. States were identified in 11274 of them. 46% of all traces in California failed to identified any state.
These aren’t small numbers folks. In very significant numbers of cases, firearms are not being traced back to a legal source. Remember, the ATF tells us not to draw any conclusions from this, but when the anti-gunners start talking about what a huge problem trafficking is, such a huge problem, in fact, that we must pass one-gun-a-month, show them this. And if that doesn’t work, tell them this:
- Pennsylvania’s time to crime average is 9.50 years. 16% in first year.
- New Jersey’s time to crime average is 11.52 years. 10% in the first year.
- Maryland’s time to crime average is 10.95 years. 11% in the first year.
- West Virginia’s time to crime average is 9.29 years. 16% in first year.
- New York’s time to crime average is 12.00 years. 8% in the first year.
- Delaware’s time to crime average is 11.45 years. 14% in the first year.
- California’s time to crime average is 12.70 years. 12% in the first year.
- Virginia’s time to crime average is 8.34 years. 22% in the first year.
We’re told what a huge problem straw purchasing is by the anti-gun crowd. So much so, in fact, that they suggest we need to ration gun purchases. Virginia has one-gun-a-month, and has one of the highest time-to-crime rates of any state. What this would indicate is that the black market in guns is fed largely by existing supply, which has been in the black market for quite some time. It would suggest that more laws restricting the legal market in firearms would not have much of an effect on the black market supply of guns.