In Philadelphia, 81 percent of murders are by guns, one of the highest rates in the nation. The Philadelphia Daily News says that most of these guns are homegrown, and more than 60 percent of guns recovered from crime scenes are traced back to area gun shops. The paper says “Philadelphia is nothing short of a thriving gun bazaar, a marketplace that makes it easy for gunslingers from all over the Northeast to buy firepower.”
Because state gun laws are so lax, people can legally buy dozens of weapons in minutes with ease, then resell them illegally to kids or thugs with long rap sheets. That, experts say, is why the city’s murder rate is climbing. “The Philadelphia handgun black market is a felon’s dream,” said Bryan Miller, executive director of Ceasefire New Jersey, a group aimed at fighting gun violence. Criminals in cities like New York, Boston, and Baltimore have handguns that were typically first purchased in Southern states and hauled up Interstate 95, which gun experts call “The Iron Highway.” The majority of Philadelphia’s illegal guns are sold here legally and then passed into the black market. “In this part of the country, Philadelphia has more in-state guns than most other cities up and down the coast,” said Daniel Webster ofof the Center for Gun Policy and Research at Johns Hopkins University. About 76 percent of guns recovered in Pennsylvania in 2004 were bought in-state.