Commentary: South Carolina must curb gun exports

This editorial appeared in The Rock Hill Herald.

South Carolina is among the top exporters, per-capita, of illegal guns to other states. It seems that gun control advocates and gun owners alike would be able to find common ground in seeking ways to reduce illegal gun sales.

The South, in general, is the region where most illegal guns originate, according a recent report by Mayors Against Illegal Guns, a coalition made up of more than 340 mayors from across the nation. For 2007, the top sources for guns used in crimes elsewhere were Georgia, Florida, Texas, Virginia, California, Ohio, North Carolina, Indiana, Pennsylvania and Alabama.

Although South Carolina doesn't make that list, it is near the top of another one. The Palmetto State was third on the list of per-capita exports of guns.

West Virginia is the top exporter, per-capita, with 41 illegal guns traced per 100,000 state residents. Mississippi was second, with 39 guns per 100,000, and South Carolina was next, with 31.

The average national rate is 11 per 100,000. The report’s authors said per-capita exports of guns are a good indicator of lax gun laws within those states.

Some refute that claim, saying that high crime rates, not lax laws, are the problem. Burglars are more likely to find guns to steal and sell in gun-friendly states, according to this theory.

To read the complete editorial, visit The Rock Hill Herald.