The New York State Police is diligently following federal directives to get illegal firearms off the streets in an effort to reduce gun violence.
The State Police’s seizure of illegal guns is up 104% over the past year after the state’s crackdown on gun violence.
Police say they confiscated 800 privately made “ghost guns” and assault rifles with help from the department’s New York State Police Gun Trafficking Interdiction Unit (GTIU), a 14-man unit formed from $2.5 million out of the state budget.
Governor Kathy Hochul recently joined state police officials at the forensic lab in Albany to showcase the weapons and prove that her leadership is bringing results.
Hochul explained that the guns are coming from out of state.
“These are not guns manufactured in the state of New York, so clearly, they’re coming from somewhere else,” Hochul said of the guns. “They’re coming from another state.”
The governor said that the GTIU has led to the increased seizure of illegal weapons and multiple arrests involved in their trafficking.
According to police, the firearms are often transported across state lines from Pennsylvania along Interstate 81 toward Syracuse and then to Rochester, the Bronx and Brooklyn.
State police are currently investigating 20 cases of illegal gun trafficking and are focusing on nabbing the manufacturers who make the parts.
“We are fully committed to slowing the flow of illegal guns into our state through the commitment of our own resources and collaboration with law enforcement partners at all levels,” State Police Superintendent Kevin Bruen said.
The GTIU launched operations in December after the department began prioritizing gun trafficking.
Since then, the department has seized 795 guns, nearly three times the amount obtained last year.
Cumulatively, law enforcement agencies in the state have seized 3,166 illegal firearms in 2022 compared to 2,181 throughout the same period last year.
“These are guns that are no longer in the hands of violent criminals who would use them to perpetrate a drug trade or their gang warfare against each other or whatever purpose they had,” Hochul said. “They can’t do that now because those guns are right here and not on the streets of New York.”
New York’s most recent state budget directed $227 million to initiatives to decrease gun violence, including $18 million to local law enforcement gun violence prevention programs and $3 million to the Office of Gun Violence Prevention.
The push to address gun violence comes after federal directives by President Biden and the passage of the bipartisan Safer Communities Act that provides funding to state and local law enforcement agencies’ efforts to reduce gun violence.