Virginia remains top source of guns seized in New York

See which states were the top sources of firearms found by New York authorities last year

Virginia is for lovers, but it is also a place for gun lovers. The state known as the gun-running capital of the East Coast is once again at the top of the list of states that “export” firearms to New York.

A map of the top 15 states of origin for firearms recovered by New York law enforcement last year. Click on a state to see how many guns from there were seized in New York in 2010 and 2011.

Of the nearly 9,000 guns recovered and traced in New York last year, 407 originated in Virginia, according to a new reportreleased by the Department of Justice. It’s a minuscule decrease from 2010, when 415 guns recovered in New York guns were traced back to Virginia.

Pennsylvania was the second biggest exporter of firearms to New York with 368 guns, and North Carolina was third with 328. Just 1,595 guns recovered last year originated from within the state.

The new report comes during a spasm of gun violence in New York City; in the last two weeks alone a 4-year-old boy was killed and a 2-year-old girl wounded during shootings. Last Friday, a 14-year-old Bronx honors student was found dead by his father, the victim of what may have been a stray bullet.

While some see the violence as evidence that the NYPD should continue with its much-criticized stop-and-frisk practices, others see fault in the less restrictive gun laws in states like Virginia and Pennsylvania, which allow people to easily purchase guns there and traffic them to New York.

“The lesson is pretty simple: Gun laws matter. States with strong gun laws tend to receive [illegal] guns; states with weak gun laws tend to export [them],”said Mayor Bloomberg’s criminal justice coordinator, John Feinblatt, as reported in the New York Post.

New York City has some of the most restrictive gun laws in the country and is No. 4 in the most recent state rankings by the BradyCampaign, a nonpartisan anti-gun violence group. Virginia ranks number 19, in part because it does not require a permit to purchase firearms or for gun owners to report lost or stolen guns.

AP Photo/Port Authority

The most popular guns recovered last year in New York were pistols followed by revolvers and rifles. Authorities found and traced nine machine guns, a 50 percent increase over the previous year.

And for the second year in a row, New Mexico emerged as a source of New York’s guns, with 48 traced to the southwestern state. Until 2010, New Mexico was not among the top 15 exporters of guns to New York tracked by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

The bureau states that not all firearms used in crime in New York were traced, and not all of the firearms traced are used in crime. However, at least 79 traced weapons in 2011 were responsible for homicides in the state and 191 were involved in robberies.

The recent report is sure to keep Virginia in Bloomberg’s target, as it has been for years. Bloomberg has given tens thousands of dollars in campaign donations to pro-gun control legislators in Virginia, arguing that the state’s policies have a direct impact on public safety in New York.

In 2007, the mayor sued 27 out-of-state gun dealers including several in Virginia for selling guns to undercover “straw-buyers.” Two Virginia gun dealers responded by creating a “Bloomberg Gun GiveAway” in which customers who made purchases over $100 would be eligible for a free gun. Bloomberg called the dealers “sick people.”

Most recently, Bloomberg criticized the repeal of a law in Virginia that limited handgun buyers to purchasing one pistol a month and predicted that it would lead to more bloodshed in New York.

“Some Americans view smarter, tougher gun measures as a hopeless crusade. But political environments change, especially when strong leaders build coalitions and carve new paths through seemingly settled territory,” wrote Bloomberg in an editorial last week. “There are conservative, pro-gun rights members of Congress who understand that more can be done to keep guns away from dangerous people.”

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  1. NY math must be different from other math. In the real world, it looks like the top source of guns used in crime in NY come from NY.

    Which really means that all those supposedly tough gun laws are really going nothing to protect the people that live in NY. It shows exactly the opposite of what the aurhors of this article and Bloomberg are trying to claim.

  2. First, the article’s title is misleading. 4 TIMES as many guns used in crime in New York came from NEW YORK than Virginia. So New York is it’s own #1 problem for guns (and criminals).

    Second, I am the President of the Virginia Citizens Defense League – a gun rights organization. It was not gun dealer’s who came up with the Bloomberg Gun Giveaway, it as VCDL. We wanted to save gun dealers who had done nothing illegal from going bankrupt while defending themselves against Bloomberg. What was disgusting was the whole thing was nothing more than a political scheme by Bloomberg to pass the buck over his own failed policies in New York. Unbelievably, even some police officers up in New York have been arrested and/or convicted recently for running illegal guns into New York.

  3. why doesn’t the state of new york bring the state of virginia up on charges? I would love to see how that would play out. We love guns down south who cares about how easy criminals can get the guns it’s not our fault that va has loopholes. Esp with private dealers as long as the cash is flowing we can carry right out the door and then sale for triple the amount. HELL it’s now a family selling business with husbands and wives!!!!!!!!!!!!!! POW POW POW Another VA tech would hav eto happen and even then that “right to bear arms” money is a billion dollar industry and let’s face it THOSE DEAD FOLKS AREN’T WORTH THAT MUCH!