With so many weapons now in the hands of a criminal, where do they end up?
“They generally don’t bring them to dealers. They usually sell them through a black market, through a network of other criminals. They don’t really bring them into legitimate sources of business,” says Robert House the owner of Classic Fire-Arms in Virginia Beach. He has been in the gun business for 30 years.
He says dealers typically won’t buy a gun from someone they don’t know. They don’t want to risk breaking the law.
According to state police in 2011, 3.1 million guns were stolen. Of those, only about ten percent are recovered.
Also in 2011, an ATF study reported that Virginia was the number one source of firearms recovered in New York crimes.
The reason: the proximity to New York and fewer gun restrictions, that’s according to House.
“The laws in the south are a lot more reasonable. They’ve got background checks, they have all the same rules and regulations, but they just don’t ban firearms like they do in New England,” says House.
As investigators continue their search for the 17 stolen weapons, House says it’s time to enact tougher legislation.
“I think the real secret of this is to have very harsh laws and enforce the harsh laws that are already out there on people who traffic firearms,” says House.