Morning Read: Boston Globe Says Flatlanders Swap Drugs for Vermont Guns | Off Message
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Monday, April 28, 2014

Morning Read: Boston Globe Says Flatlanders Swap Drugs for Vermont Guns

Posted By on Mon, Apr 28, 2014 at 11:08 AM

Today's Boston Globe has an interesting take on yet another opiate-related problem of concern to Vermont law enforcement officials: Vermonters trading firearms for drugs peddled by out-of-state dealers. 

It is a matter of simple economics, The Globe says. Handguns are cheaper and more readily available in Vermont, which has looser gun restrictions than Massachusetts. And Vermont's demand for illegal drugs has been strong in recent years.

"It is a trade that is compounding public safety worries on both sides of the state border, as urban authorities in Western Massachusetts battle gun crimes and gang violence and Vermonters cope with the skyrocketing abuse of heroin and other opiates."

“For the drug dealer, it’s a great deal,” Tristram Coffin, the U.S. attorney for Vermont, told the Globe. “He’s got a commodity that he gets for a wholesale price and then can trade a relatively small amount of drugs for a pretty valuable weapon.”

The Globe cites the 2011 murder of a woman shot by a Massachusetts man who swapped a 9 mm Glock for crack cocaine outside a Brattleboro grocery store.

Vermont Public Radio tackled the subject a few months ago.

The Globe says that police have dubbed Interstate 91 the "Iron Pipeline" for the easy access it provides Massachusetts dealers to guns in the Green Mountain State.

Vermont does not require permits or registration to own a gun, or carry a concealed firearm. The Globe says the police  chief in Holyoke, a city off I-91 in western Massachusetts, has made curbing illegal firearms his top priority.

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Mark Davis

Mark Davis

Mark Davis is a Seven Days staff writer.

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