Conservative gun proponents love to argue that the more guns in a society, the safer we’ll be. That’s even the title of John Lott’s More Guns, Less Crime, which has become a bible of sorts for NRA types. (Last week, on the day Lott was due to speak to the University of Texas’s chapter of Students for Freedom, a gunman opened fire in the campus library before committing suicide.)
The argument goes like this: red states are safer becomes they have a well-armed populace while depraved blue state cities with tough gun laws, like Detroit, Chicago and Oakland, are plagued by crime. But this argument doesn’t account for the fact that the guns used in blue crimes may actually originate in red states. According to a new report produced by Mayors Against Illegal Guns, “just ten states supplied nearly half—49 percent—of the guns that crossed state lines before being recovered in crimes.” They are, in order, Mississippi, West Virginia, Kentucky, Alaska, Alabama, South Carolina, Virginia, Indiana, Nevada and Georgia. Not surprisingly, these states have the laxest guns laws, and are thus easily exploited by violent criminals. The states with the lowest gun export rates—DC, Hawaii, New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, California, Minnesota, Rhode Island, Illinois and Michigan—have significantly tougher gun laws. All voted for President Obama.