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NY AG Releases Gun Trafficking Report; NYAGV To Hold Gun Sense Walk

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As New York’s attorney general this week released a report analyzing gun trafficking into the state, New Yorkers Against Gun Violence is holding its annual “Walk for Gun Sense” Saturday at Walkway Over the Hudson in Poughkeepsie.

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman released a report called “Target on Trafficking: Analysis of New York Crime Guns” and, with it, an interactive online tool that allows the public to get into the data, analyzing gun trends by region, year, gun type, time-to-crime, and other factors. Schneiderman says the Tracing Analytics Platform’s interactive features also enable New York law enforcement, lawmakers, and residents to explore gun trafficking patterns in their communities.

“So a little over a year ago we made a major request of the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives,” Schneiderman says. “We were the first state law enforcement agency in the country to request and be given comprehensive aggregate data tracking the state of origin of guns recovered from New York crime scenes. This has never been done before.”

He says this enabled a look at the purchase history of nearly 53,000 guns recovered by New York law enforcement between 2010 and 2015.

“This is a gun that was picked up by my Organized Crime Task Force last year.  It was initially sold in Florida before being trafficked into New York and got into the hands of a criminal who was trying to sell it on our streets,” says Schneiderman. “Thus gun represents the problem. This gun represents the dangers New York face from guns coming in from other states with weak gun laws.”

Schneiderman says the research found that 86 percent of all handguns recovered by law enforcement in New York originated from out of state. That number changes to 74 percent when considering all guns. He says handguns, like the one he was holding up, are the weapons of choice for gang members and many criminals. In light of the report, Schneiderman issued such policy recommendations as having Congress require universal background checks and closing the so-called gun show loophole. It’s a loophole, he notes, that is closed in New York, with no one permitted to leave a gun show with a gun the person did not bring in without showing a receipt for a background check. He also says Congress should make gun trafficking a federal crime. Lars Dalseide is spokesman for The National Rifle Association’s Institute for Legal Action.

“There are already dozens of laws on the books that make gun trafficking a federal crime. If you get past the splashy headlines you’ll see that less than 5 percent of the trace firearms have a time-to-crime of less than a year and only 11 percent have a time-to-crime of less than three,” Dalseide says. “If they were truly serious about addressing the issue, then they should probably work with the federal prosecutors to ensure that eastern New York ranked in the top five of the nation’s per capita gun crime prosecutions instead of the bottom five.”

Meanwhile, Dutchess County coordinator of New Yorkers Against Gun Violence Sarah Kozloff is preparing for Saturday’s fourth annual “Walk for Gun Sense” at Walkway Over the Hudson. She speaks to the attorney general’s report and also calls for universal background checks.

“I think it points to the fact that the problems with guns are not local, that it is a national problem,” says Kozloff. “Guns are easy to move across state lines.”

Again, Schneiderman.

“The vast majority of the nearly 53,000 crime guns we analyzed were originally sold in just a handful of states with lax gun laws, the states that make up the so-called Iron Pipeline — Pennsylvania, Virginia , North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Florida. And we added in Ohio, which is the seventh state, because in western New York a substantial portion of the guns recovered at crime scenes had originated in Ohio as well.”

Kozloff says the presidential election renders this year’s “Walk for Gun Sense” a bit different.

“I view the walk certainly as about gun violence but also as standing up to a climate of bullying and divisiveness and saying that we will not be intimidated by the NRA and we will not be divided into different groups of people,” Kozloff says. “We are a community in the Hudson Valley and we will band together.”

New Yorkers Against Gun Violence earlier this week announced its endorsement of Democrat Hillary Clinton for president while the NRA in May endorsed Republican Donald Trump.

In addition to New Yorkers Against Gun Violence, Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense and the Manhattan chapter of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence are sponsoring the walk that steps off Saturday morning at 10.

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