Most Guns Found at New York's Crime Scenes Come From Out of State

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Weapons the NYPD and Manhattan District Attorney's Office took off the street as part of a gun trafficking case.

Most of the guns recovered from New York crime scenes came from out-of-state, according to a new report by the New York Attorney General's Office. 

Eric Schneiderman says his office examined data from the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms to track the origins of the nearly 53,000 guns found by law enforcement at crime scenes between 2010 and 2015. According to the report, 74 percent of all guns recovered by police came from other states.

"New York's laws, which require permits for handguns, are working," Schneiderman said. "The bad guys aren't even trying to buy guns in New York. They know they have to get them from gun traffickers or travel to other states with weaker gun laws."

The report is intended to put pressure on federal and state legislators to enact stricter gun control laws. While Schneiderman says the data used in the report is illuminating, there is much more specific and granular information that is currently only available to law enforcement. Making that more publicly available could help lawmakers identify more effective ways to combat gun trafficking and crack down on gun sellers who repeatedly sell weapons found at crime scenes.

"It's not like down at the Glock factory they say, 'Time to stop making the legal guns, let's start making the illegal guns,'" Schneiderman said. "That's not the way it works. They all start as legal guns."

Schneiderman's office has released a web tool that allows anyone to examine the data used in the report.  It shows that the majority of handguns came from states with lax gun laws, like Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia, though analysis shows some did come from states with stricter regulations, like Connecticut and Massachusetts.

A federal bill sponsored in 2013 and again in 2015 by New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand to outlaw gun trafficking across state lines failed to pass.