ATF Data Undercuts Claim Gun-Controlled Cities Get Guns from Surrounding States

Chicago police search for evidence after a shooting in a Chicago alley this month, part of a surge in gun violence plaguing the US city
AFP/Joshua Lott

ATF data undercuts claims that criminals in gun-controlled cities are getting the majority of their guns from surrounding states.

The left has long claimed that the failures of gun control in cities like Baltimore or Chicago can be chalked up to lax gun laws in surrounding states. But the ATF’s latest data defeats such claims.

The Baltimore Sun reports that the ATF was asked to trace the origin of 8,600 guns from crime scenes last year. The federal agency was able “to determine where nearly 5,900 of the firearms were sold,” and nearly half of those firearms were purchased in Maryland.

The ATF found that 47 percent of the 5,900 firearms were purchased in Maryland, where “assault weapons” are banned, “high capacity” magazines are banned, and where would-be handgun purchasers are required to submit fingerprints to state police for a registration database. And Gabby Giffords’ gun control group indicates Maryland has universal background checks for handgun purchases, too.

But even with these gun controls, nearly half the guns identified by the ATF were bought in Maryland.

The ATF also discovered “an average age of 38 for those in possession of the firearms” and they noted that “the firearms were bought an average of 12 years before the crime or reason for the trace.”

The Daily Wire reports that only 15 percent of the guns traced by the ATF originated in Virginia and seven percent originated in Pennsylvania.

AWR Hawkins is an award-winning Second Amendment columnist for Breitbart News, the host of the Breitbart podcast Bullets with AWR Hawkins, and the writer/curator of Down Range with AWR Hawkins, a weekly newsletter focused on all things Second Amendment, also for Breitbart News. He is the political analyst for Armed American Radio. Follow him on Twitter: @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at Sign up to get Down Range at



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