How the Gun Trafficking Problem in Iowa Compares to Other States

The United States has nearly 121 guns per 100 people, according to the Small Arms Survey, a Swiss-based research project. That figure may be higher today since it was reported in the organization’s report published in 2018 and was already an increase from 88 guns per 100 people in 2011. (These are states with the most gun purchases per person.)

With so many firearms legally or illegally moving around the country, law enforcement agencies often seek to identify the origin and history of firearms they discover at crime scenes. This job falls to the National Tracing Center of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

The ATF traced the origin of 2,062 firearms in Iowa in 2020, and of those, 28.2%, or 582 guns, originated from out of state, the 20th largest share among states.

Of the 582 firearms traced in Iowa in 2020 that came from a different state, the largest share – 71 – were originally sold in Illinois.

It is important to note that not all firearms are traced. Tracing occurs when the ATF or any other U.S. law enforcement agency discovers a firearm at a crime scene and wants to learn where it came from. A trace uses the gun’s serial number to identify the wholesale and retail history of the gun back to its original manufacturer or importer. Firearms with illegally removed serial numbers can be traced using forensic expertise and technology, according to the ATF.

RankStateShare of traced firearms from out of state; 2020 (%)Traced firearms from out of state; 2020Total firearms recovered and traced; 2020Top supplier state; 2020Firearms from top supplier state; 20201New Jersey88.53,7384,225Pennsylvania4312New York87.56,3447,254Georgia6323Massachusetts78.81,0431,324New Hampshire1724Connecticut58.3458786Georgia725Maryland55.23,5096,357Virginia1,0706Hawaii54.33870California67Wyoming50.5100198Colorado148Illinois50.25,88111,708Indiana1,9549Rhode Island46.0150326Massachusetts1710California44.912,35227,536Arizona3,35211Nebraska34.86031,735Iowa15412Idaho34.2336983Washington5113North Dakota33.4219656Minnesota4114Pennsylvania32.92,9108,850Massachusetts27015Delaware31.43751,195Pennsylvania11116South Dakota31.2178570North Dakota1717Nevada29.51,4945,060California31518Colorado29.41,5285,197Texas23819Minnesota29.39503,247Wisconsin17820Iowa28.25822,062Illinois7121Tennessee28.02,92310,427Mississippi78422Kansas27.88373,006Missouri35123Vermont27.262228New Hampshire2624Washington26.21,0674,071Oregon22425Montana24.6234953Washington2426North Carolina24.33,72615,352South Carolina92727Oregon23.89524,001Washington22428West Virginia23.63931,668Ohio9529Arkansas21.86082,788Texas12230Kentucky21.81,0174,673Indiana24031South Carolina21.21,6907,969North Carolina29032Utah20.94682,236Nevada4733New Hampshire20.9108517Maine2634New Mexico20.15772,869Texas17335Florida20.04,51522,530Georgia81836Missouri19.91,5757,918Kansas51237Mississippi19.77603,856Louisiana13338Oklahoma19.75672,877Texas15339Georgia19.53,19316,409Alabama49740Michigan19.11,8189,504Ohio29241Louisiana18.61,7159,201Texas52542Alabama17.61,1556,574Georgia25643Maine17.381469New Hampshire1944Ohio16.22,27714,072Kentucky50145Indiana15.81,1367,174Kentucky20346Arizona15.81,4238,994California17147Wisconsin15.67734,963Illinois9848Virginia15.31,5179,910North Carolina25949Texas14.14,47331,827Louisiana74750Alaska13.184643Florida9

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