HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — The governors of four northeastern states agreed Thursday to share information about firearms purchases to help detect and investigate straw buyers and other gun crimes.
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Chief executives in Connecticut, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania signed a 10-page agreement to exchange gun crime data for use only by law enforcement, with provisions governing security and mandated notice if the information is misused or improperly accessed.
The four Democratic governors said the initiative will help target gun networks that cross state lines.
“Firearms trafficking networks frequently engage in criminal activities on an interstate basis, and in order to prevent gun violence in our communities, we must work collaboratively as a region,” New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said in a statement.
The states plan to share details they get from the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives through “eTrace” reports that show who first bought and sold guns recovered during criminal investigations. The states can also share gun data that predates the Thursday agreement.
They are not required to share traces that are considered “priority and/or sensitive,” according to the agreement.
The memorandum of understanding expires in five years but will automatically be renewed annually after that unless a state wants to get out. States may also withdraw with a 30-day notice.
The deal requires each state to designate and screen the law enforcement people who will be allowed access to the data, and it must be kept on computer systems dedicated to criminal justice.
The states must notify each other if the information is misused, including unauthorized access, disclosure, copying, modification, storage or deletion.
Every day, 316 people are shot in the United States — 106 of those who are killed, according to nonprofit advocacy organization Brady.