NEW YORK CITY — The percentage of out-of-state guns recovered from crime scenes in New York City is on the rise, even as overall gun violence has dropped, city officials said Wednesday.
In 2011, 90 percent of traceable guns used in crimes in New York City were from out-of-state, according to the most recent data from the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, up from 85 percent in 2009, leading Mayor Michael Bloomberg to again call for tougher state and federal laws to help curb the flow of guns and gun violence in New York.
“To those who say, ‘Stay out of our state,’ our answer is: ‘We’d love to — just as soon as you stop letting guns seep into the black market, land in the hands of criminals, and be used to murder our citizens,’” Bloomerg said at City Hall.
According to the mayor’s office, gun crime has gone down over the three most recent years where data is available. The total number of guns recovered at crime scenes has dropped 44 percent between 2009 and 2011, even as the number of traceable out-of-state guns used in crimes crept higher over that same time period.
Most of these guns are coming from states below the Mason-Dixon line, investigators found.
“There’s no shortage of weapons coming, in essence, south to north, through the ‘Iron Pipeline,’” Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said at the press conference, noting that 58 percent of murder victims in the city were killed by gunfire.
“We remained focused on guns to save lives,” said Kelly, who called on Congress to enact tougher gun laws.
Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina were the top out-of-state sources for guns recovered and traced on the streets of New York City, according to John Feinblatt, Bloomberg’s criminal justice coordinator.
“What happens in Richmond…affects what happens to New Yorkers,” Feinblatt said. A number of states have recently rolled back gun controls even further, he noted, claiming the moves only made it easier for guns to make their way to the streets of New York City.
Bloomberg’s gun position — through his work with Mayor’s Against Illegal Guns and his super PAC, which backs gun reform candidates — has made him a target of pro-gun groups and politicians. The mayor brushed off the suggestion that his high-profile support of greater gun controls has played into their arguments.
“This is issue is about a lot more than me,” Bloomberg said “I’m less likely to get shot than, unfortunately, somebody in a community where crime is high.”
"Mayor Bloomberg has been criticized in some quarters for keeping the pressure on. He should not be criticized," Kelly said. "He should be commended."