NEW YORK (REUTERS) - Six out of seven handguns connected to recent crimes in New York state were brought in from elsewhere, the state's attorney general said on Tuesday (Oct 25) in a report on suspected gun trafficking along the US East Coast.
New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said his office had used federal data not available to the public to determine where some 46,514 firearms tied to crimes from 2010 to 2015 had been purchased.
According to the report, some 86 per cent of handguns recovered by law enforcement agencies were from out of state.
The report called smuggled guns the weapons of choice for violent criminals. "This is the gangster's dream gun," Schneiderman said at a news conference, holding up a handgun that he said originated in Florida.
"This is the kind of gun that's used to commit crimes."
One in five recovered guns were "recently trafficked,"meaning they were confiscated by law enforcement within three years of their purchase or had other indications they were bought for criminal use, the report said.
Two other indications, the report said, are whether the person who has the gun when law enforcement recovers it is different than the person who purchased the gun and whether the state of purchase is different than the recovery state.
New York politicians and law enforcement officials have for years denounced what they call an "iron pipeline" of unlawful firearms smuggled north and east from states that have looser gun laws and regulations.
Schneiderman said in a statement the data demonstrated that New York's gun laws "are being undermined at every turn by lax laws in other states."
Virginia, for example, was the origin of 3,249 guns recovered during those years in New York, more than any other state, according to the report.
Terry McAuliffe, Virginia's Democratic governor, wants to reduce the state's role as a source for illegal guns, spokesman Brian Coy said. Coy blamed Republican state lawmakers for rejecting measures such as gun-show background checks and a one-gun-a-month law.
Advocates for gun rights argue that such laws do not deter crime and infringe on the guarantee of gun rights in the US Constitution's Second Amendment.
Gun control has not fared much better on a national level. In June, the US Senate rejected legislation to further restrict gun sales, a measure that was proposed after a gunman killed 49 people in a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida.