Roughly 20 percent of the guns recovered in Pennsylvania by authorities in 2012 crossed state lines to get here, according to an analysis by ProPublica.

While most of those guns originated in nearby states, at least one recovered gun was purchased in every state in the nation, according to the analysis of data from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, which maps destination and origin data for recovered guns by state.

In 2012, authorities ran traces on 6,293 guns in Pennsylvania and found that 1,306 guns — more than 20 percent — were bought in another state.

The top states where guns in PA originated were:

  • Virginia – 118 guns (9 percent)
  • Ohio – 115 guns (8.8 percent)
  • Georgia – 99 guns (7.6 percent)
  • Florida – 94 guns (7.2 percent)
  • South Carolina – 92 guns (7 percent)
  • North Carolina – 65 guns (5 percent)
  • Delaware – 64 guns (4.9 percent)
  • Texas – 64 guns (4.9 percent)
  • West Virginia – 63 guns (4.8 percent)
  • Maryland – 53 guns (4.1 percent)

Nationwide, authorities recovered 155,000 guns in 2012 and found that 28.8 percent – 44,832 guns – had been bought in a state other than where they were found.

Not all guns can be traced, and when an origin cannot be determined, the ATF declares that the gun originated in the state where it was recovered, according to ProPublica.

California, Illinois, New York and Florida imported the most guns from outside sources, according to the analysis.

Pennsylvania ranked 12th nationally in imported guns.

In the analysis, ProPublica excluded 999 guns that originated in or were found in U.S. territories and two guns traced to Canada.

Pennsylvania is also a major gun exporter.

In all, 6,789 traced guns originated in Pennsylvania, according to the ATF data, and 1,802 of those guns were found in other states.

Guns from Pennsylvania were found in 47 states.

Below are the top destination states:

  • New York –367 guns (20.4 percent)
  • Maryland – 293 guns (16.3 percent)
  • New Jersey – 278 guns (15.4 percent)
  • Florida – 82 guns (4.6 percent)
  • Ohio – 82 guns (4.6 percent)
  • Delaware – 77 guns (4.3 percent)
  • California – 69 guns (3.8 percent)
  • North Carolina –68 guns (3.8 percent)
  • Virginia – 65 guns (3.6 percent)
  • Illinois – 48 guns (2.7 percent)

The top gun exporters nationwide were Georgia, Virginia, Texas and Florida, according to ProPublica’s analysis. Pennsylvania ranked eighth.

Reach Jeffrey Benzing at jbenzing@publicsource.org or at 412-315-0265.

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Jeff has been serving as assistant editor for PublicSource since October 2018, helping to guide coverage across the newsroom and overseeing economic development coverage for Develop PGH. Jeff previously...