Report: Ohio guns end up in other states

CLEVELAND (AP) - Ohio ranks seventh in the country and No. 1 in the Midwest in exporting guns to other states that end up in the hands of criminals, according to a report by Americans for Gun Safety.
Ohio was the origin of 1,697 guns recovered in crimes committed in other states, according to the report, which is based on data for 2001 from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
Americans for Gun Safety says a combination of weak gun laws and lax prosecution has created what it calls an "iron pipeline" of guns from Ohio to other states.
"There seems to be no enforcement strategy in Ohio and in many states to investigate and crack down on the illegal market in guns," said Jim Kessler, the group's policy and research director.
Kessler cited the so-called, "gun show loophole," which allows private gun sales to occur without background checks.
He said guns bought at gun shows for $150 in Ohio will sell for $600 on the streets in Detroit, where it's difficult to obtain a gun because of tougher laws.
Joe Waldron, executive director of Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, said only a small percentage of felons acquire their weapons at gun shows.
He said most illegal guns are obtained by qualified buyers who give them to their friends or relatives who are not permitted to buy guns.
Waldron blamed gun violence on America's culture. He said making Ohio laws more restrictive is not the answer.
Federal prosecutors in Ohio filed only 10 gun trafficking cases between fiscal years 2000 and 2002, and three cases against corrupt licensed gun dealers, according to the report.
Federal prosecutors in Cleveland referred questions about the report's conclusions to representatives of the ATF, who could not be reached for comment.
According to the report, the top 10 crime gun export states in 2001 were: Virginia, Georgia, California, Florida, Texas, Mississippi, Ohio, Indiana, North Carolina and Alabama.
(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)