CHARLESTON, WV (WVNS)– Gun trafficking in and out of the Mountain State is becoming more and more common here in Southern West Virginia.

“Gun trafficking is where we’re taking guns from one area that are generally purchased for an illegal purpose to another area,” Thompson said.

That is United States Attorney Will Thompson’s definition of gun trafficking. And he should know, because he and other attorneys put away a ringleader who planned to traffic 140 guns from the Beckley area to Philadelphia.

Thompson said he seeing a rise in one particular way to traffic guns.

“We’re seeing a lot of what’s called straw purchasing that is when someone will go into a gun store and buy the gun for someone else who can’t buy that for some reason such as they are a convicted felon or some other prohibited person,” Thompson said.

59News also sat down with Robert Maynard, who’s an assistant special agent in charge of the US Bureau for Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms of the Louisville Division, which covers West Virginia.

“There’s the secondary market where people are acquiring firearms from there and sending them out of state to prohibited people as well,” Maynard said.

So what can be done to hinder gun trafficking in the Southern District of West Virginia?

“ATF’s stance on that would be just good communication with the firearms industry,” Maynard said.

And Thompson agrees with Maynard’s fact.

“Most, if not all the gun store owners in this district are proactive. They don’t want to sell you illegal guns, they don’t want to sell guns to people who can’t have them,” Thompson said.

Education and communication seem to be the keys to keeping guns off the streets.