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Most New York crime guns come from out of state

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ALBANY, NY — New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman on October 25 announced the results of a study of guns found at crime scenes. Using information provided by the federal Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives, the analysis looked at all guns recovered statewide from crime scenes from 2010 through 2015.

More than 53,000 guns were recovered from crime scenes during that time. Some 73% of all guns came from out of state; in the category of handguns, which are most often used to commit crimes, 86% came from out of state. A new website breaks down the statistics further (targettrafficking.ag.ny.gov/tool). In Sullivan County, 146 guns were recovered from crime scenes.

Schneiderman said the guns are coming from what he calls the “iron pipeline,” which he defined as Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Florida. The report also said significant numbers of handguns are coming from Ohio and Pennsylvania. Scheiderman said New York’s gun laws, which are among the strictest in the country, are working because criminals for the most part don’t try to obtain handguns in the state, and instead get them illegally when they are smuggled into the state.

New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand was quoted in a press release from Schneiderman’s office. She said, “Gun trafficking is recognized all around, by both parties, as a major source of fuel for American gun violence, yet there is still no federal law that prevents someone from crossing state lines with a truckload of guns and selling them to criminals in a parking lot. As long as gun trafficking is not a federal crime, it will continue to be shamefully easy for criminals to get their hands on these weapons, and law enforcement won’t have the tools they need to prosecute traffickers and remove these illegal guns from the black market. My gun trafficking bill is one of the only gun bills that has bipartisan support—and this is despite the efforts of the gun industry and its powerful lobby to protect their own profits and stop us.”

Among the recommendations the report makes are: “Congress should require universal background checks and close the ‘gun show loophole;’ Congress should make gun trafficking a federal crime targeting each stage of the trafficking process; Congress should expand access to aggregate trace data so non-law-enforcement actors can analyze crime gun data to make more informed decisions about gun laws and law enforcement strategies; states should require licenses to own handguns.”

Schneiderman also recommended that New York “pass a Gun Kingpin Bill to punish traffickers so severely (up to 25 years to life in prison) that the business becomes too risky a proposition.”

[See editorial.]

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