For Release: Friday, May 15, 2009
Washington, D.C.–By holding its annual convention in Phoenix, Arizona this weekend, the National Rifle Association (NRA) meets in a state that ranks sixth in the nation for overall gun death and in a city where gun dealers have been cited as sources for the illegally trafficked firearms that feed gun violence on the U.S-Mexico border, the Violence Policy Center (VPC) stated today.
Josh Sugarmann, VPC executive director and author of the book NRA: Money, Firepower & Fear, states, “While the NRA celebrates its deadly definition of freedom, the rest of us pay the price in gun death and injury.”
Arizona ranks sixth in the nation in overall gun death according to an analysis released last week by the VPC of just-issued 2006 national data (the most recent available) from the federal National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. Arizona’s gun death rate of 15.93 per 100,000 is more than 50 percent higher than the 2006 national gun death rate of 10.32 per 100,000.
In addition, according to the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), Arizona is one of the primary source states for firearms illegally trafficked from the United States to Mexican drug trafficking organizations (DTOs). Federal court documents obtained by the VPC reveal that Phoenix-area gun dealers are a known source of the assault weapons, armor-piercing handguns, and 50 caliber anti-armor sniper rifles favored by Mexican DTOs.
Adds Sugarmann, “The gun show featured at the NRA’s annual meeting this weekend puts on full display the massive firepower favored by Mexican traffickers: Bushmaster and DPMS assault rifles; FN Herstal PS 90 assault rifles and Five-seveN armor-piercing pistols; and Barrett 50 caliber sniper rifles. The NRA’s gun show is a show-and-tell of the firepower readily available on the U.S. civilian market being used to attack law enforcement in Mexico and terrorize its citizens.”