Why the feds cant stop NYC shooting epidemic with illegal gun crackdown

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A federal plan to deploy “strike forces” to stem the flow of illegal guns into major cities won’t stop the predicted bloodshed in New York this summer — because most of the weapons used in street violence have been here for years, law enforcement sources told The Post.

The new gun-trafficking crackdown was announced Tuesday by the Department of Justice in an effort to combat growing crime in five major cities.

But police sources are dubious that the plan would work in the Big Apple, where gun violence has been soaring.

“If they never made another gun, shootings would not go down for years,” a veteran Manhattan NYPD detective said. “There are guns that have been lying in closets and under beds for years and they are being passed around.”

One NYPD supervisor assigned to Brooklyn estimated that there are more than 100,000 guns floating around New York’s streets today.

Led by US attorneys and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the strike forces will launch within the next 30 days and cover Chicago, Los Angeles, the San Francisco Bay Area and Washington, DC, in addition to New York, the DOJ said in a press release.

The anti-gun blitz — part of a larger nationwide effort to tamp down violent crime that’s set to be rolled out this week by President Biden — will attempt to stop the pipeline of illegal firearms from states with lax gun laws to the major cities.

“Working with our local partners to tackle violent crime is one of the Justice Department’s most important responsibilities,” said US Attorney General Merrick Garland. “Our firearms trafficking strike forces will investigate and disrupt the networks that channel crime guns into our communities with tragic consequences.”

But sources told The Post that new guns coming into the city isn’t the problem.

According to ATF statistics from 2019 — the last year for which figures were available — the average time between a gun’s initial purchase and its confiscation in a crime in New York State was 11.75 years, with most of those seizures in New York City.

That figure eclipsed the national average of 8.29 years by more than three years, sources said, showing that the guns tied to local crimes have been on city streets for years and were not recently smuggled in.

”You can tell how many guns are out there by the amount of gun arrests that are being made and cops aren’t even being aggressive,” said a Manhattan cop. “Also, even though we are making gun arrests, shootings are still going up. That doesn’t add up.”

A Brooklyn detective also panned the city’s attempts to seize guns through buyback events, arguing that the weapons brought in mostly aren’t on the street to begin with.

“The buyback program sounds nice, but it doesn’t solve anything,” the detective said. “You are getting grandpa’s gun. No gang member is selling his gun.”

According to current NYPD statistics through Sunday, the department has made 2,169 gun busts so far this year, up 31.8 percent from the same date in 2020.

Shootings, however, are up by an even greater margin, with 680 tallied through Sunday for a 53.2 percent hike from last year.

That troubling uptick comes after 2020 already brought stretches of gun violence not seen by the five boroughs in a generation.

And 2021’s shootings have included assaults that killed, maimed or terrorized some of the most innocent New Yorkers, including 10-year-old Queens boy Justin Wallace, murdered earlier this month as collateral damage in a long-running parking spot dispute.

Mayor Bill de Blasio earlier this month trumpeted what was billed as a new partnership between the NYPD and the ATF aimed at intercepting guns — but police sources at the time said the effort has existed for years as the ATF/NYPD Joint Firearms Task Force.

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