New York City Mayor Eric Adams believes that to reduce gun violence, he needs to go after guns. His plan relies heavily on disrupting gun trafficking, seizing guns, and arresting people for illegal gun possession. This strategy is unlikely to work, says Reason.com. The focus on gun possession arrests, if it fails to distinguish between people who pose a real threat to public safety and people who carry guns for self-protection, will compound the injustice of systematically denying city dwellers their Second Amendment rights. "It is estimated that as many as two million illegal guns were in circulation in New York City in 1993," the Justice Department reports. Last year, the New York City Police Department seized some about 6,000 guns; even at that unsually high rate, three decades of seizures would not have made much of a difference.
Given that reality, attempts to disrupt the supply of guns are not a very promising approach. For crime guns in New York, the average time between initial sale and confiscation is nearly 12 years. Philadelphia, like New York, has recently seen increases in homicides. Law enforcement officials in that city are skeptical that gun seizures or supply-side measures are an effective way to tackle the problem. Between 1999 and 2020, according to a January report from a committee that includes police officials and Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner, nearly 13 million guns were legally sold in Pennsylvania, an average of more than 1,600 a day. Meanwhile, Pennsylvania law enforcement agencies seized an average of 22 guns per day. "With so many guns available," Krasner says, "a law enforcement strategy prioritizing seizing guns locally does little to reduce the supply of guns." If that strategy "entails increasing numbers of car and pedestrian stops," he warns, it "has the potential to be counterproductive by alienating the very communities that it is designed to help."