Dismantling The Gun ‘Pipeline’ To New York

Encore: November 20, 2015

New York has some of the toughest gun laws in the country, but in other states like Georgia, you don’t even have to pass a background check in some cases to buy a handgun, shotgun or even a rifle.

This has helped create the “Iron Pipeline,” a gun-smuggling route along Interstate 95 that stretches from Florida to the Eastern Seaboard and cuts right through the New York City area. Law enforcement officials say nearly 90 percent of firearms seized in connection to New York City crimes came via this route.


Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson says the pipeline generates a lucrative business that’s threatening New York and its officers.

“It’s an enormous problem, because if you look at what happened to the last seven New York City police officers to be shot and killed in the line of duty, they were shot and killed with guns that came from Georgia and South Carolina, including the recent killing of Officer Randolph Holder in East Harlem,” Thompson told MetroFocus Host Rafael Pi Roman.

The gun that was used to kill Holder was stolen from a South Carolina trooper. The officer reported it, and Thompson said that should be the law.

“We need a federal law that mandates that if you have your gun stolen or if you lose your gun, you should be required to report it,” he said.

The district attorney also said that loose gun laws in the south, such as no background checks for when firearms are purchased online or at a trade show, are hurting New York, which has some of the strictest laws.

“But when you have states like Georgia and Virginia and South Carolina that have these lax gun laws, you’ll have people that will exploit that and send them up here for our detriment,” he said.

Thompson said “comprehensive gun measures” are needed like legislation proposed by U.S. Rep. Nydia Velazquez, (D-Brooklyn), requiring gun owners to report when their firearms are lost or stolen and a bill introduced by U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, (D-NY), which would define gun smuggling as a crime.

“I believe that we can acknowledge and respect the Second Amendment, but also protect our streets and our communities from the carnage that’s playing out from Brownsville in Brooklyn to the south side of Chicago,” he said. “It’s not just confined to New York City.”

In the meantime, he said his office will continue to pursue and indict smugglers from the south.

“Until they fear being arrested, prosecuted, convicted, this is not going to stop,” he said.” Now I’m doing my part as the Brooklyn DA, what I’m calling on is the federal government to do its part.”

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