It seems so trivially obvious as to hardly need repeating, but some (*cough*Scott Brown*cough*) just can’t seem to get it through their thick skulls, so here we go again: guns cross state lines. That’s why a state-by-state approach to gun laws is destined for failure. Here’s today’s Globe with some actual numbers to back up what intuitively is inescapable:
Authorities in Massachusetts, which has some of the toughest gun laws in the nation, recovered 1,737 firearms used in crimes during 2011. Of the 1,020 firearms that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms traced to their state of origin, just 351originated in Massachusetts.
About 250 of the 1,020 guns traced came from nearby states with less restrictive gun laws, including 133 from New Hampshire and 79 from Maine.
Put in percentage terms, guns recovered in Massachusetts crimes originated in-state only 34% of the time. The other 66% of guns used here came from other states. About a quarter of them came from neighboring states; the rest presumably came from states where guns flow freely.
If Scott Brown is serious about protecting the people of Massachusetts, he should listen to Mayor Menino, who is absolutely correct in saying that “until our Congress gets serious, we’re not going to have a safe country.”