July 31, 2013Latest Trace Data Demonstrates Impact of Weak Federal and Weak State Gun Laws that Allow Illegal Guns to Land in the Hands of Criminals
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly and Criminal Justice Coordinator and Mayor’s Chief Policy Advisor John Feinblatt today released the most recent available crime gun trace data, which shows the percentage of out-of-state guns used in crimes in New York City has increased from 85 percent in 2009 to 90 percent in 2011. Moreover, the data – from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives – reveals that the increase in proportion of out-state guns used to commit crimes occurs even as the total number of guns recovered in the city has decreased by more than 44 percent. Despite the ongoing drop in violence in the five boroughs with homicides and shootings at all-time recorded lows, the data demonstrate the impact of weak gun laws at the Federal and State levels on the safety of New Yorkers, and the need to prevent thousands of illegal guns from being transported across state lines. The Mayor made the announcement in the Blue Room at City Hall today.
“Our top priority is keeping New Yorkers safe and that includes reducing the flow of illegal guns into our city,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “Now 90 percent of guns used in crimes here came from out-of-state and that means – in addition to our tough enforcement efforts inside the five boroughs – we have to pay attention to gun laws outside of the city. The reality is laws in states across the nation and in Washington, D.C. have a real impact on the safety of New Yorkers.”
“We continue to do all we can to keep New Yorkers safe,” said Police Commissioner Kelly. “Yet there’s no shortage of weapons flowing north from the south through the iron pipeline. The near-30 percent reduction in murders year-to-date from last year’s record low is evidence that we are doing something right. But we could do even better if Congress helped with meaningful gun control.”
“A higher percentage of the guns used in crimes in New York City are coming from out-of-state,” said Criminal Justice Coordinator Feinblatt. “Sane background check laws and other common sense measures in other states and D.C. will help keep illegal guns out of the hands of convicted criminals. That is why mayors throughout the country are working together to strengthen laws that will keep illegal guns out of their cities and towns and off our streets.”
Fewer Guns, but Higher Percentage from Outside New York
The 2011 crime gun trace data for New York City shows that 2,186 – or 90 percent – of 2,433 traceable guns used in crimes in the five boroughs were from out-of-state. In 2010, 86 percent of the 2,319 traceable crime guns were from outside New York State. In 2009, there were 2,290 out-of-state crime guns from the 2,685 traceable guns recovered (85 percent).
The total number of guns recovered from crime scenes in New York City has dropped 44 percent – from 7,059 to 3,980 – between 2006 and 2011. At the same time, the number of guns originating in-state has decreased 48 percent – from 471 to 247. However, the number of out-of-state crime guns has fallen at a slower pace – 22 percent – leading to an increase in the proportion of out-of-state guns used to commit crimes in the city.
Top States from which Illegal Guns Flow to New York City
Fewer Teens Carrying Guns and Fewer Suicides with Guns
In 2011 – the last year from which U.S. Centers for Disease Control data is available – the proportion of teenagers carrying guns in New York City hit an all-time low of 2.3 percent, which is the lowest of any big city in the nation. While the nation saw a decrease in the number of teens carrying a handgun by 11 percent, the percent of teens in the five boroughs carrying a handgun fell by 36 percent when compared to 2001. As a result, teenagers in New York City are now half as likely to carry a handgun as their counterparts in the rest of the United States.
Need for Common-Sense Gun Laws
Under current Federal law, only licensed gun dealers are required to conduct criminal background checks on firearm purchasers. According to the most recent national survey, as many as 40 percent of gun transfers in the United States do not go through a licensed dealer. This accounts for more than six million guns sold every year without a background check, and this dangerous loophole makes it easy for guns to fall into the wrong hands.
In addition, states like Virginia – the top state from which illegal guns flow into New York City – do not require background checks for private gun sales, despite the fact that these checks are the most effective way to prevent felons and the mentally-ill from obtaining firearms. Since the National Instant Criminal Background Check System was established in 1998, it has blocked more than two million attempted purchases by people prohibited by law from buying or possessing guns.
Marc La Vorgna / Kamran Mumtaz
Paul J. Browne