Arizona is among the top 10 states for “bad apple” gun dealers, the 5 percent of dealers who sold almost 90 percent of the traceable guns later used in crimes across the U.S., says a new report from the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence quoted by the Arizona Republic. The report said Arizona was the fifth-largest exporter of guns found at crime scenes in other states in 2013. Gun dealers in the state sold 2,026 guns that were used in crimes outside Arizona that year – 1,100 that wound up in California alone. “There are a handful of bad apples out there,” said the Brady group’s Dan Gross. “They put their own profits over public safety.” The report urged lawmakers, media and gun store owners themselves to work for the closure or cleanup of at least half of the bad apple dealers. Gross called on the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to crack down on providers of “crime guns.”
In response to the report, gun-rights advocates agreed that better enforcement is needed, noting that many of the practices cited in the report are already illegal. “Straw purchasing is illegal,” said Amy Hunter of the National Rifle Association. “The NRA has been saying all along that we don't need more gun control, we need to enforce the laws already on the books. If dealers sell to straw purchasers, they should be prosecuted.” Straw purchases involve someone who passed a background check buying a gun with the intention of turning it over to someone who has not or cannot pass the background check. It is one of three main avenues for guns from bad apple stores to make their way to crime scenes across the country, the report said. The other two methods are gun trafficking and “off the books” transactions, when gun store owners lock the door, go into the back room and make sales off the books.