Illegal Gun Sale: Why Is It a Problem in New York City

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NY Illegal Gun Sale Culture


In New York, politicians are trying to make gun violence less common. To accomplish this goal, the police are working on limiting the occurrence of illegal gun sale trade. However, that is more difficult than it sounds. Despite a decrease in gang violence, New York is still experiencing high rates of the sale of illegal. Find out why it is so difficult to stop the trade and what police and politicians are doing to stop it.

The Illegal Gun Sale Trade in New York City

From 2010 to the end of 2015, the police found 30,606 guns from other states with complete transaction histories. The police found 5,873 of those guns within three years of their purchase from another state. Additionally, police found 2,437 of those guns within a year of their original purchase. Approximately one in five of the guns that police recovered from crimes were trafficked guns; they did not come from New York state.

By trafficking those guns into the state, individuals broke state law. They contributed to the illegal gun sale trade in the city. It is a growing problem that politicians want to address.

The Problem

One of the biggest issues with curbing the illegal gun sale trade in New York City is the location of the city. With many other states nearby, New York is an easy place to smuggle in guns from other states. One recent report proved that most of the gun crimes in New York involve guns that are from other states. With even the strictest of gun laws, New York would still have a gun problem. People go out of state, buy guns, then drive them across state lines into the city. Although it is illegal to do so, it doesn’t stop most criminals. It’s an easy way to get guns in a state that restricts gun sales.

Between 2010 and the end of 2015, thousands of firearms made their way into the city and other areas of New York. All of those guns made it into the state within a year of their original purchase. If you consider the guns that made it into the state within three years of their purchase, the number of guns increases by thousands more. It seems as if people are buying guns for the purpose of smuggling them into the city. Additionally, it seems as if they buy them with the intention to use them for criminal activity.

For example, there was a murder in Buffalo in September of 2012. In February, a few months before committing his crime, the shooter bought his firearm in Ohio. Then, he came to New York to commit the murder. In many other crimes, there is only a window of a few months between the gun purchase and the crime. New York’s strict gun laws do not keep guns from out of state away. With so many states with lax gun laws close by, New York police have a difficult job of preventing illegal guns from entering the state. There is no way to keep all of the illegal guns out.

The Sale of Illegal Guns

Many criminals buy guns and sell them to other criminals. Of the thousands of guns recovered from crimes between 2010 and the end of 2015, only 6% of them belonged to the original owner. With the ease of crossing state lines with guns, the illegal gun sale trade has few risks. It’s a profitable industry with few risks, and New York law enforcement can’t keep up with it.

Limiting the Trade


Restricting the illegal gun sale trade in New York City means federal changes. Although New York gun laws are quite strict, other states don’t have the same policy. For a change to occur in New York, the federal government needs to take action. It’s the only way to get people to stop buying guns and smuggling them across state lines.

In New York, crime is on the decline. However, law enforcement in the state can only do so much. They are doing their job to prevent violent crimes, but they can’t keep guns out. States like Ohio and Pennsylvania only require background checks for guns at gun shows or for private sales. Almost anyone can buy a gun there. Then, they can get on the highway and drive to New York by the end of the day. Unless a police officer pulls them over for a driving infraction, there is no way for the police to stop him.

Without federal regulation, the illegal gun sale trade could continue to be a major problem in New York. No matter how hard the police work, they won’t be able to stop illegal guns from entering the state. Other states make it too easy for individuals to purchase guns. Until that happens, politicians hope to curb the trade with a gun kingpin bill. The bill would make it a felony to sell or own ten or more firearms.