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NY, CT, PA, NJ agree to share ‘crime gun data’ to fight ‘gun violence plague’

Row of handguns. (US Coast Guard Academy/Released)
October 11, 2021

New York and three other northeast states have agreed to share information on guns that are used in crimes, according to an agreement that was announced on October 7.

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul, Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf, and New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy all agreed that “gun violence continues to plague communities throughout New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, and the Nation.”

“A significant number of guns used in crimes in the region were originally sold or acquired in other states and unlawfully trafficked across state lines; and local and state law enforcement would benefit by having the ability to share crime gun data across state lines because firearms trafficking networks frequently engage in criminal activities on an interstate basis,” the agreement stated.

The five-year pact stated that sharing “crime gun data” between states will allow law enforcement to more efficiently “detect and deter gun crime, to investigate gun crime, and to identify and apprehend straw purchasers, suspect dealers, firearms traffickers, and other criminals.”

The agreement requires that states transmit crime gun data, which the exception of “priority and/or sensitive” traces, to other states’ law enforcement agencies. The data will be transferred on a “regular basis,” to be determined by the states involved.

During a virtual meeting between the governors as reported by The New Jersey Globe, Gov. Murphy said the effort will help “protect our residents and to end the menace of senseless gun violence in our communities.”

“When we work together as regional partners to enact regional solutions, we’re far better off than if we all go on our own,” he added.

Murphy said he would like to see the partnership expand to involve other states.

Gov. Hochul said the pact will give lawmakers and law enforcement in the four states the “tools we need to be able to trace guns that are coming from other states.”

“If Congress would simply allow us to share this nationally, what a better place we would be. But in the meantime, this is where the states are the incubators,” Hochul said.

President Joe Biden’s White House praised the agreement as a good step to “tackle the gun violence public health epidemic.”

“This data-sharing agreement recognizes the reality that firearms cross state lines, and we therefore need a multijurisdictional approach to tackling gun violence,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said in a statement. “President [Joe] Biden shares these governors’ commitment to cross-state collaboration to tackle the gun violence public health epidemic.”

Critics of the pact sounded the alarm that the governors were implementing a “way of harassing” gun owners.

“I have a great deal of concern considering the track record of other states’ way of harassing people they perceive as gun owners and having a gun,” Kim Stolfer, the Pennsylvania state president of Firearms Owners Against Crime, told Advance Local Media. “They interlink the license plate with the database and the names and people are harassed who are simply exercising their constitutional right.”