Guns are increasingly available for use in crimes, including large-caliber handguns and assault weapons, a Police Executive Research Forum survey found. The results were reported by PERF director Chuck Wexler at a national “summit” on guns and crime yesterday in Washington, D.C. Of more than 100 police departments that answered a survey, more than 30 percent said gun availability had increased in their areas.
The federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives provided data on where crime guns originate. Some 90 percent of ATF field divisions said crime guns primarily originate in the same state, although three divisions–New York, Newark, and Los Angeles–said guns there primarily came from other states. Many summit participants, who included representatives of the National Rifle Association and the Brady Campaign To Prevent Gun Violence, agreed that “straw purchases” of guns deserve mandatory prison terms.