Differing gun laws across the country are causing problems for some law enforcement agencies — especially in several New England states — which enforce tougher regulations and where the number of guns used in crimes are increasingly coming in from somewhere else.
For example, in Massachusetts, which has some of the most highly restrictive gun-control laws in the country, only 351 out of 1,020 firearms used in crimes last year traced to their origin were actually purchased in state, the Boston Globe
reported on Monday. The rest were traced to other nearby states.
Authorities in Massachusetts are troubled by the large percentage of outside guns being used in local crimes and suggest that tougher national laws may be needed to offset weaker state laws.
“Clearly, this has an effect on gun violence in Massachusetts, Jake Ward, a spokesman for the Suffolk County District Attorney Daniel F. Conley, told the Globe.
But the trend across the country, despite the recent mass shooting in Aurora, Colo., is toward weaker gun laws, according to the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence.
“The national gun lobby has put a lot of effort at chipping away at state gun laws, and it’s affecting New England,” center attorney Lindsay Nichols told the newspaper.
According to the center, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island rank in the top 10 states with tough gun control laws.
But their enforcement efforts can be hurt by the lack of tighter regulations in nearby states like Maine and Vermont, which have some of the weakest laws addressing gun and ammunition sales, assault weapons, and carry permits.
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