Interstate Gun Flow in the Connected States of America

This proposal examines the sources of guns used in crimes and considers the way they are transported around the US to affect gun violence in local areas. Illegal interstate gun flow has critical implications for preventive intervention. Efforts to reduce access to guns and subsequent gun crimes can be separated into demand-side strategies that reduce individuals’ willingness to acquire and use guns in crimes, and supply-side strategies that reduce access to guns to individuals who may potentially perpetrate gun crimes. Comprehensive efforts to
reduce gun crime include a balance of both strategies. The goal of this research is to examine the flow of guns between US states and identify opportunities to reduce illegal interstate transfers of guns used in crimes in New Jersey and nationally. We have compiled detailed space-time data from multiple publicly available sources for 2010-2021, including the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) Firearms Trace Data; roadway network, demographic characteristics, and interstate migration data from the US Census Bureau; freight flows from the US Department of Transportation; gun laws from the Boston University State Firearm Laws Database; inspection reports for Federal Firearms License (FFL) retail outlets; and gun thefts from National Incidence Based Reporting System (NIBRS). We will use cutting edge spatial epidemiologic and geographic network analyses to investigate how guns flow from legal to illegal commerce, with a focus on the in-flow of guns to New Jersey.

Project Status
In progress

Principal Investigator (PI): Christopher N. Morrison, Ph.D., Columbia University