photo illustration

October 13, 2010

Got yourself a gun

Kentucky is third in U.S. illegal gun trade

The 8-year-old elementary school student was carrying a sturdy Beretta .380. He wouldn’t say how he got it, but Eddie Woods is sure he got it illegally.

I don’t know a child that can’t get a gun if they want one,” says Woods, founder of the LIFE Institute, which works with at-risk youth.

In our group sessions, we ask the kids if they have one, and almost unanimously — even our prep students, suburban kids who live in gated communities — they can get a handgun if they want one. There’s significant firepower being traded out here. A person with a gun can make the sale, and a person with the money can get the purchase.”

Eventually those firearms spill out into the streets and are exported to other parts of the country, says Woods. He says there is a black market with buyers coming from as far as New York City to get cheaper guns.

When it comes to the illicit firearms trade, Kentucky is one of the top guns: According to a report from the nonprofit Mayors Against Illegal Guns, Kentucky ranks third nationwide in exporting guns used in domestic crimes, behind only West Virginia and Mississippi.

In response, the nonprofit coalition of more than 500 mayors is launching a campaign aimed at the state’s lax gun laws, which they say could foster illegal interstate trafficking. Gun control proponents want further examination and eventual action, but state lawmakers, many of whom are strong Second Amendment advocates, continue to push for legislation in the opposite direction.

Kentucky’s illegal guns end up mainly in neighboring states like Ohio, where 239 firearms were used in crimes committed there, ahead of Tennessee, Illinois and Indiana. But the crimes don’t end there. Additionally, 78 illegal guns from Kentucky were recovered from crimes committed in Florida, and 53 ended up in California.

The travel of Kentucky’s guns may have to do with the state’s gun culture: The state exports 34.9 firearms used in crimes for every 100,000 residents — more than twice the national average, according to the report.

Kentucky lacks any of the 10 provisions that would curb illegal firearms trafficking significantly, the coalition says. For example, the state has no penalties against buying a gun with false identification or for selling one without a background check.

“We can say none of the states with the high rate do have the (stricter) laws, and we think there’s a relationship that merits more study,” says Jason Post, spokesman for Mayors Against Illegal Guns. We know that bad guys know where it’s easy to get guns. We don’t have all the answers, but we’re here to share the information, and we console with our members on the best way to approach this because each state is unique.”

The coalition favors background checks during gun shows and barring offenders with violent misdemeanor charges to posses a handgun. Gun rights advocates argue that putting further restrictions on responsible owners is a scapegoat for rising crime in other parts of the country.

“I don’t think our laws have any impact on crime in other states. They need to deal with their crime problem instead of trying to blame somebody else,” says Rep. Robert Damron, D-Nicholasville. “You can’t take guns away from law-abiding citizens and affect criminal activity. We don’t need to be putting further restrictions here on law-abiding citizens to fix the crime in Chicago.”

Damron highlights federal laws
that already require background checks and disagrees with the study’s premise, citing the coalition’s political agenda.

In 2008, he sponsored a bill to allow students at state-funded universities to keep firearms in their vehicles while on campus — which is prohibited by the universities themselves. The conservative Democrat says he will co-sponsor any similar legislation if it comes up at next year’s General Assembly.

Damron says he does disagree with a controversial piece of legislation that could end up making Kentucky more gun-friendly and put more firearms on the black market.

Last month, Rep. Mike Harmon, R-Danville, a candidate for lieutenant governor, said he plans to file a bill at next year’s General Assembly that would allow residents to carry concealed weapons without obtaining a permit.

“I think that’s a purist position,” Damron says. “I’m trying to build cooperation with other states. And I think they need to prosecute the people who violate the law in those states like we do here.” 

Gun Laws are incredibly strict for shops.

By openrange
"For example, the state has no penalties against buying a gun with false identification or for selling one without a background check". Quote from Leo article. What this article skips by is the incredibly strict Federal laws already in place for gun shops. Federal law requires businesses to do a background check, license/ID checks and we are audited yearly to check our books. Mistakes will lose you your license and your business. We do these checks for free with no pay from the gov't. No pay, but we can lose our license if we make a mistake. Does that sound like a free wheeling gun selling state to you? The second odd comment is that "illegal guns" are making their way to other states. If this is the point of the article then the guns are already in an "illegal" ownership and why would any other law change anything? For some reason our "thinking" population rely on a non-thinking government to solve issues that are already against the law. Law enforcement obviously cant enforce the laws we have now. More will do exactly what? How about put our thinking caps on and figure ways to stop crime, not stop the sale of tools for preventing crime (guns) which are legal here in Kentucky if purchased according to the law. Barry Laws CEO Kentucky's Premiere Indoor Gun Range and Paintball/Reball Arena 6401 Cross Keys Blvd Crestwood, KY, 40014 502-243-8282

Gun laws

By Old-Wolf
Again, I am a gun toting liberal that follows the law (mostly) and feel that the restrictions placed on gun owners and such are virtually worthless. Those of us who follow the law expect that when the republican regime takes over again that something else will happen regarding gun ownership. And just so that everyone knows, dems have made only ONE gun law over the last several DECADES - that being signing the Brady Bill into law a hold over from GH Bush and a law that was deemed ok to let end by W. The republicans on the other hand have enacted over 140 gun laws in the past many years including registration, waiting periods, the state line issue - yes liberal action among the people started these things but the democrats DID NOT act on them, it was all republicans. That said, gun laws are designed to make sure that any law abiding citizen who owns a gun is on record as doing so so that they can be called on when it comes time to take them for "safety reasons". I can go out on the street in New Albany, Louisville, Jeff and within about 2 hours find someone who will sell me a gun, pistol or rifle on the cheap. The idea is not to enact more, stricter gun laws it is to make better choices in government so the people we elect make better decisions. Unfortunately the mess we are in now probably will deliver us to the end of existence before we can fix the problem.

I like Rep. Mike Harmon`s

By armandmarius
I like Rep. Mike Harmon`s solution, his bill that would allow residents to carry concealed weapons without obtaining a permit will surely be voted. I hope it will because I miss the times I browsed on GGGAZ for rifle scopes and accessories. We will see in the near future the result of the balancing act between support for the Second Amendment and recognizing a need for action in the wake of Sandy Hook, hope it will be positive.

I don't think its good idea

By karenn333
I don't think its good idea to put more restrictions on people who are getting guns legally and making no illegal use. If Kentucky has some relaxation for its public then other states must not relate it with crimes in their state, because if that is the case then crime ratio must be higher in Kentucky. cv companies

windows update help I was

By msjustu40
windows update help I was able to know more about the gun issues through this article. It was new information to me that Kentucky ranks third nationwide in exporting guns used in domestic crimes. I think if the officials act seriously regarding the issue crime rate can be slowed down.

I do agree with all the ideas you have presented in your post

By MigdaliaLathrop
I blog quite often and I really appreciate your content. The article has really peaked my interest. I am going to bookmark your site and keep checking for new information about once a week. I subscribed to your RSS feed as well content creation.

This website was Excellent

By HilarioSteele
Thanks for sharing superb informations. Your site is so cool. I am impressed by the details that you’ve on this website. It reveals how nicely you perceive this subject. Bookmarked this web page, will come back for extra articles. You, my pal, ROCK! I found simply the info I already searched all over the place and simply couldn't come across. What a great site stress management