A.G. Schneiderman, Gun Violence Victims, And Local Leaders Call For Action To Combat Illegal Gun Trafficking

News from Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 3, 2016

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A.G. SCHNEIDERMAN, GUN VIOLENCE VICTIMS, AND LOCAL LEADERS CALL FOR ACTION TO COMBAT ILLEGAL GUN TRAFFICKING

A.G.’s New Report, “Target on Trafficking,” And Interactive Tool Show How New York’s Strong Gun Laws Are Undermined By Lax Laws In Iron Pipeline States – With Nearly Three-Quarters Of All Crime Guns – And 85% of Crime Handguns –  Recovered On Long Island Originating Out-Of-State 

Schneiderman Joined By Officer Mark Collins, Officer Shot In Line Of Duty By Criminal Using Out-Of-State Handgun

Schneiderman Urges Common Sense Federal, State Action To Stem Tide Of Illegal Guns 

LONG ISLAND – Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman stood today with Long Island victims of gun violence and local leaders to highlight the Attorney General’s new report on illegal gun trafficking into New York and call for federal and state action. The Attorney General was joined by Suffolk County Police Officer Mark Collins, who was shot while on patrol by a handgun originally purchased in Virginia – a prime example of the impact of the flood of illegal guns that pour into New York State.

“The gun violence epidemic has touched the lives of far too many Long Island families,” said Attorney General Schneiderman. “Police departments are doing amazing work to fight illegal guns, but we still find too many guns pouring into New York and into the hands of criminals. This new data makes clear: we need common sense action at both the state and federal levels to protect our communities.”

The ground-breaking analysis shows that 74 percent of all crime guns recovered by law enforcement between 2010 and 2015 originated out-of-state, and nearly nine out of ten (86 percent) of recovered handguns come from out-of-state.

Of all crime guns recovered on Long Island, 73 percent came from out-of-state, the second highest rate in the state; 85 percent of handguns – the weapon of choice for violence criminals – recovered on Long Island came from out-of-state. In total, Long Island saw 4,844 crime guns recovered or just over 9% of all recoveries between 2010 and 2015. Long Island is also the second largest market in the state for crime handguns, with a total of 3,881 and the second largest percentage of handguns (80 percent).

The report released last week by the Attorney General, “Target on Trafficking: Analysis of New York Crime Guns,” and the new interactive tool examine the purchase history of the nearly 53,000 crime guns recovered by law enforcement in New York between 2010 and 2015. A crime gun is any gun connected to a crime that is recovered by law enforcement.

The Attorney General urged common sense federal and state action to stem the tide of illegal guns:

  • 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.

“Gun violence continues to plague communities across our region and this problem has been further exacerbated by illegal gun trafficking,” said Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone. “I am grateful for Attorney General Schneiderman’s commitment. This first-of-its-kind Tracing Analytics Platform will significantly help our law enforcement personnel by analyzing and providing regionally-focused data to monitor gun trafficking trends.”

“Crime in Suffolk County is at a historic low, and the Suffolk County Police Department is committed to finding innovative ways to drive crime even lower. New tools that help us fight gun violence are essential to this goal,” Suffolk County Police Commissioner Timothy D. Sini said. “With the support of Attorney General Schneiderman and the Gun Trafficking Report, our department now has an additional innovative and valuable tool to use to better track where these weapons are originating and to combat the problem.”

“I know first-hand the dangers of illegal guns in the hands of dangerous people,” said Suffolk County Police Officer Mark Collins, who was shot in Huntington Station last year by a criminal who used an out-of-state gun. “I feel that any effort to combat illegal guns is necessary to protect the citizens of Suffolk County. I am proud to represent the Suffolk County Police Department with this extremely worthwhile program.”

The Attorney General’s office is the first statewide law enforcement agency to obtain and analyze such comprehensive crime gun data provided by the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF).

The analysis showed sweeping and important trends in gun recoveries, particularly with regard to how out-of-state guns are flooding into New York from the “Iron Pipeline” -- states with lax guns laws along the I-95 corridor, namely Pennsylvania, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida – as well as from Ohio. These findings offer significant policy implications and context for state and national leaders striving to reduce gun trafficking and violence.

“Attorney General Schneiderman’s new report makes it clear that we urgently need to make gun trafficking a federal crime,” said U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY). “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. The American people are demanding that Congress respond to the gun violence crisis, and my bipartisan gun trafficking bill is an important part of that response.”

“Each trace represents the life of a crime gun, and together these data tell a crucial story – both about how guns make their way to criminals, and about how law enforcement can crack down on gun trafficking,” said John Feinblatt, President, Everytown for Gun Safety. “Communities across the state are devastated by handguns that come up the Iron Pipeline from states with weak laws. The Attorney General’s report shows the power of bringing data together, and we hope that law enforcement elsewhere take note.” 

“This report provides an unprecedented look at the flow of illegal guns into New York and offers a stark illustration of the challenge faced by states like New York whose strong gun laws are undermined by a lax approach to this issue taken by other states,” said Chelsea Parsons, Vice President of Guns & Crime Policy, Center for American Progress. “This is the most comprehensive analysis of statewide crime gun trace data to date and provides invaluable information to law enforcement, policymakers, and community stakeholders seeking to prevent gun violence across the state. We are hopeful that other states will follow the example of this report and conduct a similar analysis to continue shining a light on the illegal trafficking networks currently operating in this country.”

“This important new report gives our lawmakers even more evidence that when enacted, smart, responsible gun laws work: they reduce crime and protect communities. As Attorney General Schneiderman has shown with this report, the Washington gun lobby's oft-repeated canard that gun laws are ineffective is just that. This report also shows the need for our lawmakers in Washington to do more to combat the illegal gun trade, and the consequences of making it easy for criminals to traffic firearms from a state with weak gun laws into one with stronger laws. Gabby and I applaud Attorney General Schneiderman for his continued leadership on preventing gun violence,” said Navy combat veteran and retired NASA astronaut Captain Mark Kelly, the Co-Founder of Americans for Responsible Solutions

As part of this report, Attorney General 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 tool’s interactive features also enable New York law enforcement, lawmakers, and residents to explore the gun trafficking patterns occurring in their individual communities.

The findings in the new report for Long Island include:

In Suffolk and Nassau Counties combined

  • 4,844 Recovered Guns
  • 73% Out-of-State Guns (Second Highest Rate in the State)
  • 85% of Handguns Were From Out-of-State
  • 97% Likely Trafficked Guns From Out-of-State

Suffolk County

  • 2,176 Recovered Guns
  • 76% Out-of-State Guns
  • 87% of Handguns Were From Out-of-State
  • 100% Likely Trafficked Guns From Out-of-State

Nassau County

  • 2,668 Recovered Guns
  • 70% Out-of-State Guns
  • 83% of Handguns Came From Out-of-State
  • 94% Likely Trafficked Guns From Out-of-State

Long Island shows a pattern similar to neighboring New York City for its 396 likely-trafficked guns. However, Florida tops the list of source states, with 16% of recoveries followed by Virginia (13%) and Georgia (12%). 92% of guns that were likely-trafficked to Long Island were handguns.

This report was prepared by Senior Advisor and Special Counsel Nicholas Suplina, Director of Research and Analytics Lacey Keller, and Data Scientist Meredith McCarron.

Special thanks to Deputy Attorney General Peri Kadanoff, Chief of the Organized Crime Task Force, the Executive Division’s Research and Analytics Department, and the OAG Web Team for their assistance preparing the report. Additional thanks to ATF’s New York Field Office and National Tracing Center for their assistance in obtaining the data used in this report. 

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