Illegal guns: the very mention of the word “gun” usually fills up my mailbox. So be it.
I plan to join several other urban mayors this week in co-sponsoring a resolution at the US Conference of Mayors that seeks new local authority to crack down on the sale and use of illegal guns in our cities.
Over the years, the federal ATF has accumulated a great deal of data about guns used during crimes - including, in some cases, the various hands through which a gun has passed before it was used in a local crime. According to the data, sixty percent of the guns used in crimes can be traced back to just one percent of gun dealers. Yet, federal restrictions currently prevent that information from ever showing up in a civil court.
That has to change. Local law enforcement agencies should be given access to ATF gun trace data so that they can successfully investigate and reduce crime, including the crime of illegally selling or transferring guns.
Stopping the spread of illegal guns fights crime. Stopping the spread of information about illegal guns does not.