Georgia, Florida Gun Laws under Fire; BIG SUPPLIERS Report Shows Both States Were Top Sources for Firearm Trafficking

Article excerpt

Byline: JIM SCHOETTLER

A national report that links states with lax gun laws to interstate trafficking of firearms used in crimes lists Georgia and Florida as the top suppliers in 2007.

Those numbers are based on states with larger populations and greater volumes of gun sales. There were 2,631 guns traced back to an original sale in Georgia used illegally in another state, while 2,328 guns came from Florida.

On a per-capita basis - guns exported per 100,000 residents - West Virginia and Mississippi were the leaders. Georgia ranked seventh, while Florida ranked 20th.

The report on interstate gun trafficking released Friday by Mayors Against Illegal Guns doesn't specify where the guns came from in any state. But federal law enforcement records show that in Florida, Jacksonville topped the cities of firearms recovered by police with 3,128 in 2007. Atlanta led the way in Georgia.

LAX LAWS IN GEORGIA, FLORIDA

Those city-specific records were from reports of gun traces done by the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. The national study is based on such traces from 2006 and 2007.

The report provides a checklist based on whether states have strict gun laws. In Florida and Georgia, the report notes that there is no background check required by private, unlicensed sellers at gun shows; no purchase permit required for all handgun purchases; no requirement for reporting lost or stolen guns; and no local control of gun regulations.

The report said states with lax gun laws also had higher in-state murder rates and fatal shootings of police officers.

"While all states operate under the same federal gun laws, many states have enacted a series of additional laws ... to choke off the illegal market and reduce criminal access to guns," the report said. "The states that have not [enacted additional laws] . …