It's tough to buy a gun in New Jersey. So where do all the guns used in crimes come from? –

Some of the weapons turned in during a 2012 buyback program in Paterson.(Photo: Tyson Trish/

New Jersey’s gun laws make it one of the hardest states in which to buy a weapon. So where do most of the guns used in crimes here come from?

States like Pennsylvania, Virginia, South Carolina and Florida.

Seventy-five percent of traceable guns recovered by authorities in New Jersey are purchased in states with weaker gun laws, according to an analysis by The Record and of federal firearms trace data and a gun-law score card published by the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence.

The firearms trace data were compiled by the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, or ATF, between 2012 and 2016. The figures include guns used in crimes and weapons found by authorities but not tied to specific crimes.

The analysis bolsters a claim by Gov. Phil Murphy in recent weeks that “our guns laws are only as good as those in the states around us.”

Signaling a new tactic in his effort to tighten standards, Murphy said earlier this month that he would begin “naming and shaming” other states by releasing data on where guns used in New Jersey crimes originate.

The existing federal data preview what the state data will likely show and whom Murphy may be trying to shame, even if he won’t say explicitly.

Weaker guns laws: States with weaker gun control laws are the biggest sources for guns in New Jersey

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Pennsylvania, which requires background checks for private sales of handguns but not rifles and other long guns, has been the No. 1 source of out-of-state guns recovered in New Jersey each year for the past decade, according to the ATF data.

In 2016,

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