Four states in Northeast sign agreement to share gun data

Goal is to identify and arrest straw purchasers, dealers, traffickers and others.

Updated: October 7, 2021 - 11:55pm

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Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont joined his counterparts from a trio of other Northeastern states to announce a new agreement to share crime gun data, a move they contend will help stem gun violence in their states.

Law enforcement agencies in the four states will share crime gun data as part of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) the governors signed. Their goal is to identify and arrest straw purchasers, dealers, traffickers and others.

“Right now, we’re all putting more police on the street; we’re community policing more folks,” Lamont said during a virtual meeting. “… Like the War on Drugs, you don’t want to just go after that kid with a nickel bag or that kid with the pistol. We’re going to take care of them, but I want to go after the kingpins. I want to go after those pushers. I want to go after those big drug and gun wholesalers, those big guns, so to speak.

“And that’s what this eTrace system allows us to do,” Lamont added. “We can track that gun back, see where it originates from, see what commonality there is and find the big guns that are pushing these out in the street. Despite our best efforts, despite our best gun safety laws, we have more damn guns in the street than we ever have before, and if you’re not taking guns seriously you’re not taking law and order seriously.”

The agreement the Democratic governors signed remains in effect for five years and automatically renews annually. However, states may terminate the accord at any time with 30 days’ written notice.

Violent crimes have surged nationwide amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Nationally, FBI data shows that violent crime increased 5.6% in 2020 from 2019, while murders and nonnegligent manslaughters increased 29.4%.

“Putting an end to the gun violence epidemic will require an all-hands-on-deck collaborative approach, which is why we are taking an important step forward today working with New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Connecticut to share crime gun data between our respective states,” New York Gov. Kathy Hochul said in an announcement.