Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez joined 68th Precinct Commanding Officer Capt. Andrew Tolson, State Senator Andrew Gounardes and Councilmember Justin Brannan on Friday to announce a plan to take illegal guns off the streets.
Local residents who have been affected by gun violence also attended the conference, as did members of the advocacy group Moms Demand Action.
“Fighting gun violence must be an all-out effort that includes law enforcement, legislators and our communities,” said Gonzalez. “I remain fully committed to protecting public safety in Brooklyn by focusing resources on those who shoot and carry weapons in our neighborhoods, by going after firearms traffickers who bring guns into our city and by partnering with violence interrupters and other community-based organizations.”
The plan includes stemming the flow of guns through the “iron pipeline,” the steady stream of weapons from southern states up Interstate 95 into New York City. According to a recent report from the Attorney General’s office, 70 percent of trafficked guns found in New York originated from the iron pipeline. Gonzalez said his office continues to make cracking down on trafficking a major priority.
Gonzalez’s office also called for the immediate passage of a bill to mandate that the state provide data on the origins of illegal guns coming into New York City and to make major firearms trafficking a class A-1 felony.
The plan also includes supporting and expanding gun buybacks. The city’s Cash for Guns program has removed more than 10,000 guns from the streets since its inception in 2002.
Gonzalez and the NYPD hosted a gun buyback event on Sept. 15 at St. Paul Community Baptist Church in East New York – the first in Brooklyn in four years.
Finally, the plan will support anti-violence organizations with funding and other forms of partnership.
“These horrific acts can be prevented by getting illegal guns off of our streets and preventing guns from falling into the wrong hands,” said Gounardes. “While the federal government has failed to take action to protect Americans from gun violence, New York must act quickly and decisively to stop gun violence and protect families from the pain of losing a loved one.”
Gounardes mentioned Bay Ridge resident Michael Scully, who was shot and killed while walking his dog last month – the first shooting in the neighborhood in a year.
“There is just no reason someone should be able to purchase guns down south and illegally resell them here in New York,” said Brannan.” We must increase the penalties for those caught doing so and go after the gun sellers in other states who fail to properly screen their sales. That’s how we’ll get to the root of the problem and get illegal guns off our streets.”
“This effort will make our families and streets safer,” said Sheffali Welch, chapter co-leader of Moms Demand Action. “We call on all local leaders to follow their example in facing gun violence head on for New Yorkers citywide.”