Recent tragedies in Wisconsin and Colorado have brought renewed vigor to the gun debate. Those in favor of increased gun regulations argue that the restrictions would prevent future tragedies, while the opposition argues that increased restrictions only result in harsh consequences and weapons charges for law abiding citizens.
Regardless of one’s stance on the gun control debate, one thing is clear: guns play a prominent role in crime in New York. According to The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF), guns are used in 20 percent of the violent crimes committed within New York. Although this number is down from previous years over 6,500 arrests were still connected to gun possession.
Impact of New York’s Harsh Gun Laws on the Presence of Guns in the State
New York is known for having strict gun laws. These laws not only make it difficult to purchase guns by imposing fees and complex background checks but also impose harsh penalties for those in violation of gun possession laws.
These strict laws lead to some interesting findings. The ATF noted that guns used in crimes in New York come from a variety of sources, but most are from states that impose fewer legal regulations. In fact, many guns used in crimes in New York are traced to southern or Eastern Seaboard states like Virginia, North Carolinand Florida.
The presence of guns purchased in other states leads officials with ATF to speculate that New York is becoming what is known as a “market state.” Individuals are purchasing guns in other states that have more relaxed regulations and then bringing the weapons into the state.
The presence of a market state can lead to a volatile situation. A thriving underground market is present which allows easier access for those individuals that may not pass a basic background check to purchase guns.