WASHINGTON — A report being released Monday by a mayors group finds that nearly half of the guns that crossed state lines and were used in crimes in 2009 were sold in just 10 states.
Those states accounted for nearly 21,000 guns connected to crimes in other states, says the survey by Mayors Against Illegal Guns, an association of more than 500 mayors led by New York's Michael Bloomberg and Boston's Thomas Menino.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives traced more than 145,000 guns used in crimes in 2009 and found that more than 43,000 guns were sold in other states.
Forty-nine percent of those guns were sold in Georgia, Florida, Virginia, Texas, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, California or Arizona.
The mayors group wants to push for tighter state and federal gun laws in order to stop the flow. "There are 12,000 gun murders a year in our country, and this report makes it perfectly clear how common-sense trafficking laws can prevent many of them," Bloomberg told the New York Times. That's despite nothing in the news reports proving that the guns were sold illegally -- it seems the report is only making the observation that guns sold in some states have been used in others.
"[The report] finds that, across the board, those states with less restrictive gun laws exported guns used in crimes at significantly higher rates than states with more stringent laws," the Times says.
But Chris Cox of the National Rifle Association says the data are flawed. "It’s completely bogus for a group with a clear political agenda to release some study based on selective statistics," he told the Times. "This is not a serious discussion. But this is what we’ve come to expect from Mayor Bloomberg and his gun control agenda."
Not so, says James Alan Fox, a criminology professor at Northeastern University. "A state’s gun laws are only as good as the weakest link in the national chain," the Times article quoted Fox as saying. "A state with weaker gun laws becomes a supplier for states with stronger laws."
Cox, however, isn't afraid that Bloomberg's report will have an affect -- especially due to the Supreme Court's recent Second Amendment decisions. "Do I think Mayor Bloomberg and his group are desperate for relevancy in a debate where they have no legitimate role? Sure," Cox said. "Do I think their approach will continue to be rejected by the American people and Congress? I do."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.