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93% Of NYC Crime Guns From Out-of-State, Many Via 'Iron Pipeline'

Federal data shows out-of-state guns affect New York City more than any other U.S. big city, the New York Daily News reports. In fours years, from 2017 through 2021, some 93 percent of the 12,910 guns recovered from crimes in the city's five boroughs were linked to an initial sale from outside the state, says the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). The percentage of out-of-state guns used in New York City crimes far exceeds that of second-place Baltimore, where 61 percent of guns used in crimes originated out of state. New York’s problem with out-of-state guns is more than three times worse than the national average. On average, 28 percent of firearms nationwide were recovered in crimes that originated across state lines. The most common source of firearms in New York City crimes are southern states with lax gun laws, ATF found. Many guns used in New York City crimes are brought to the city by runners who buy them in bulk in the south and drive them north along Interstate 95 — a system police call the Iron Pipeline.


ATF Director Steven Dettelbach said the startling figures came to light when the Biden administration ordered a gun trafficking analysis as part of its attempt to figure out how to deal better with firearm violence. Dettelbach, speaking at a Citizens Crime Commission breakfast in Manhattan this month, said he worries Americans will come to accept gun violence and the trafficking of illegal guns. “My biggest fear as a director, as a father, as a former prosecutor, a lawyer, and an American is that somehow we’ll become numb to it — that we’ll kind of accept there’s nothing we can do about it and that...it’s part of somehow being an American,” Dettelbach said. “That would be a disaster if that happened.” Dettelbach says, the gun origin data should be used to build criminal cases that stop the flow of guns into the city. John DeVito, who runs ATF’s New York office, was not surprised by the 93 percent figure, given improved tracing methods starting in 2019 that cut reduced the number of guns for which an original purchase could not be determined. DeVito said New York’s gun laws, among the nation's strictes, and the sheer size of the city, with almost half its population under the age of 34 and many with strong familial links to southern states, make for an ideal black market. “You can make a profit relatively easily,” DeVito said.

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