Thugs, thieves and murderers who commit violent handgun crimes in New York used guns from out-of-state, refuting claims by Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump and gun lobbyists that tough gun laws don’t keep guns out of the hands of criminals.
New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman, today (Oct. 25), released the first-of-its-kind analysis of guns recovered from criminals or crime scenes.
“The Washington gun lobby’s oft-repeated canard that gun laws are ineffective is just that,” said Navy combat veteran and retired NASA astronaut Mark Kelly, the Co-Founder of Americans for Responsible Solutions.
Target on Trafficking Major Findings
- 52,915 firearms were recovered between 2010-2015.
- In the most recent year, 2015, New York recovered 7,827 guns.
- Only 6 percent (3,208 guns) were recovered from the person who was the original purchaser.
- 74 percent of all recovered guns (handguns, rifles, etc) originated out-of-state.
- Over half came from iron pipeline states: Pennsylvania, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida
- 86 percent of recovered handguns, the weapon of choice for violent criminals, came from out-of-state
- 57 percent of all recovered guns were out-of-state handguns
- One in five recovered guns were “recently trafficked”
Gun Trafficking: A Call to Action
- Congress should require universal background checks and close the “gun show loophole.”
- Congress should make gun trafficking a federal crime; there is currently no comprehensive law that criminalizes each stage of illegal gun trafficking.
- 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.
- New York should pass the Gun Kingpin Bill to punish traffickers so severely (up to 25 years to life in prison) that the business becomes too risky a proposition.
The report serves as a “persuasive call for federal action – no matter how much we strengthen New York’s gun laws, we are fighting an uphill battle in the absence of national reform,” added Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr.
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has been promising to impose reasonable restrictions on gun ownership in keeping with the Second Amendment that would stop the flow of guns to criminals.
The New York study, titled “Target on Trafficking: Analysis of New York Crime Guns,” reveals that the problem begins in lax gun law states.
In all, nearly 53,000 crime guns recovered by New York law enforcement between 2010 and 2015 were traced, revealing an “iron pipeline” to states with lax or non-existent gun laws.
Pennsylvania, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida are the chief sources of guns into New York State, according to the report.
“These findings clearly show that crime guns from ‘Iron Pipeline’ states are flooding our streets and getting into the hands of criminals at an astonishing rate,” said Vance, Jr
Nearly three out of four (74 percent) crime guns recovered by police originated out-of-state, while nearly nine out of ten (86 percent) handguns come from out-of-state, the study found.
“It’s time for the federal government – and other states – to take common sense measures and ensure weak gun laws won’t continue to take the lives of New Yorkers,” he added.
The New York state legislature is considering a bill to help prosecutors put wholesale illegal firearms dealers out of business in New York State. But the problem goes beyond that.
“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, said said New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand.
“New York’s strong gun laws are being undermined at every turn by lax laws in other states,” said Schneiderman. “Even as we work to make our streets safer, the illegal guns most often used in violent crimes continue to pour into our state.”
As part of today’s announcement, Schneiderman also released the “Tracing Analytics Platform,” a powerful and publicly available online tool that empowers members of the public to dive into the data themselves, analyzing gun trends by region, year, gun type, time-to-crime, and other factors.
The report was prepared by Senior Advisor and Special Counsel Nicholas Suplina, Director of Research & Analytics Lacey Keller and Data Scientist Meredith McCarron.