Focus on Illegal Firearms Trafficking in Virginia

Hi guys!

This is going to be a brief post, as I just want to update you all about the direction that my research is taking as I narrow the scope of my inquiry into Virginia’s gun markets. I am going to focus on policy solutions for illegal firearms trafficking from Virginia. Several studies have shown that firearms move from states with weak gun laws, like Virginia, into those with stronger laws. The recent discovery of a resurgence in the “iron pipeline” from Virginia to NYC in early 2017 makes this topic exceptionally salient. This particular incident involved New York law enforcement officials tracing over 200 guns to Virginia, with the majority of the traffickers linked to the Richmond area in particular.

If you consult my abstract post, you will see that my project is focusing on identifying externalities that Virginia’s gun policies and markets may contain. Thus, trafficking fits very neatly into that context. The costs associated with crime by guns that originate in Virginia are externalities that our gun markets, and associated policies, place on other states. I have spent the last few days identifying potential solutions for interstate trafficking. I will continue to collect evidence of academic studies of policy implementation in the upcoming weeks.

A report by Everytown, the National Urban League, and Mayors Against Illegal Guns from 2016 identified universal background checks, increased oversight of gun dealers, and promoting responsible practices among private sellers as ways to reduce the supply of illegal guns to cities. Additionally, I have found evidence that Virginia’s previous one-gun-a month law was effective at reducing bulk firearms trafficking along the east coast.

I will keep you all updated as I proceed to wade through the complicated waters of illegal firearms trafficking and policy in Virginia and prepare to attend my first gun shows in a couple of weeks!


Here is the link to the report mentioned above:

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