PROVIDENCE, R.I., Oct. 24 (UPI) -- Gun traffickers exploit differences in state guns laws, with each state's regulations having a spillover effect in neighboring states, a U.S. economist says.
Brown University economist Brian Knight said gun-tracing data from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives shows illegal firearms flowing from states with weak gun laws to states with strong gun laws, a university release reported Monday.
Knight classified each state on a scale of weak-to-stringent gun control scale based on legislation on purchasing, background checks and required reporting of lost or stolen guns.
As one example of spill-over, Knight pointed to New York, a state with stringent gun laws where the largest firearms importers are Florida, Georgia, and Virginia -- three states in relatively close proximity with relatively weak gun laws.
The problem arises because every U.S. state legislates its own gun laws, he said.
"This analysis suggests there would be benefits associated with having more federal control over gun policy, particularly because the federal government is going to better internalize these types of cross-state spillovers," Knight said.