Police chiefs from several states met yesterday in Anne Arundel County to discuss an effort to stem the tide of illegal firearms by setting up a regional computer system to track weapon sales across state borders.
Though no firm agreement came out of the meeting in a conference room at Baltimore-Washington International Airport, police officials were confident that one could be reached between the states involved, which stretch from Vermont to West Virginia.
On Aug. 15, Gov. William Donald Schaefer signed a memorandum of understanding with the governors of Virginia, Delaware and New Jersey requiring that police agencies in each state pool gun licensing information and jointly investigate the movement of illegal firearms.
Col. Larry W. Tolliver, superintendent of the Maryland State Police, said he set up yesterday's meeting with police chiefs from Delaware, New Jersey, Connecticut, Virginia, New York, Vermont, West Virginia and the District of Columbia to expand that agreement.
Colonel Tolliver said a computer system might not be set up for some time because of funding problems. The movement of illegal firearms from one state to another is a major problem, he said, and keeping track of them, even within state boundaries, can be difficult.
"Some of the states can't even give gun information to their own troopers," Colonel Tolliver said.
Displayed on a table in the conference room were guns seized by state troopers in Maryland, including several weapons converted to fully automatic, one of them a German HK-91 assault rifle, equivalent to an M-16. Police said the weapon was seized this year at a gun show.