Guns on the Move

by Hemanth Nair

Some U.S. states are better than others for gun owners, according to Guns and Ammo. The magazine ranks states annually based on Right to Carry, access to "black rifles," Castle Doctrine, and other criteria. Whether guns from states better for gun owners wind up being used in crimes in states less friendly to gun owners is an active area of study. We wanted to explore the same question visually.

Using the Guns and Ammo rankings and state-level 2017 firearm trace data from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), this visualization shows the movement and number of guns from "source" states where they were originally acquired to the states where they were found in a criminal investigation leading to an ATF trace. Guns that were traced in an investigation but did not cross state lines are not included.

Each dot = 50 firearms. Color indicates Guns and Ammo rank of source state: Bottom 15 Top 15 Middle 21