In 2005, New York police Det. Dillon Stewart ran into a little piece of Florida deep in the heart of Brooklyn. Stewart was shot and killed chasing a driver who ran a red light. It turned out that the gun had been stolen in Florida six years earlier, reports the Tallahassee Democrat. A report from the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence pegs Florida as second in the nation in exporting guns eventually used in crimes out of state. Georgia led the pack, and Texas came in a close third. The Brady Center claims one-fifth of all traced firearms nationwide originated in Florida, Georgia, or Texas in 2007, many making their way from the South up Interstate 95, the “Iron Pipeline,” to states in the Northeast, where gun laws are more stringent.
In New Jersey, 72 percent of the traced firearms were from out of state, a situation that Marion Hammer, former president of the National Rifle Association, sees as a classic example of criminals being able to gain access to firearms while law-abiding citizens are hampered by gun-control laws. “Criminals don’t obey the law. It’s as simple as that,” she said. “If more of them were incarcerated, we wouldn’t have this problem.”