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Kirsten Gillibrand, Eric Adams announce federal gun trafficking bill

Legislation would make gun trafficking a federal crime, address flow of illegal guns smuggled into New York through the "Iron Pipeline"

July 19, 2021 Brooklyn Eagle Staff
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Almost 90 percent of the guns seized by police in New York State in connection with crimes can be traced to other states, with six states — Pennsylvania, Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia, South Carolina and Florida — the source of about half those guns, according to the state Attorney General’s Office.

To deal with the persistent problems of gun smuggling along what is known as the “Iron Pipeline” and gun trafficking in general, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams stood in front of Borough Hall on Monday to announce a new federal bill that seeks to establish gun trafficking as a federal crime.

The bill is named the Hadiya Pendleton and Nyasia Pryear-Yard Gun Trafficking & Crime Prevention Act for two teenage girls in Brooklyn and Chicago who were the victims of gun violence. It would provide law enforcement and prosecutors with the tools to go after those directly involved in the illegal movement of guns across state lines, gun dealers acting illegally, individuals who organize the gun trafficking rings and those who conspire to traffic guns. 

Despite the illegal movement of guns across state lines, there is currently no federal law to define gun trafficking as a crime. A lack of federal law results in law enforcement and prosecutors having to rely on a patchwork of state regulations to crack down on criminal networks that makes prosecutions difficult and convictions nearly impossible. 

The reintroduction of the legislation comes as shooting incidents have spiked by 73 percent in New York City since May 2020, driven in part by the proliferation of illegal handguns. 

“Right now, there’s no federal law that defines gun trafficking across state lines as a crime. We need to make gun trafficking a federal crime so that we can keep these illegal guns off our streets and out of the hands of those who would not be allowed to buy them legally. The Hadiya Pendleton and Nyasia Pryear-Yard Gun Trafficking & Crime Prevention Act is a commonsense reform that is urgently needed,” said Senator Gillibrand.  

“Gun violence has unfortunately become the norm in communities across our city – especially Black, Brown, and poor communities. We know a major driver of this crisis is the over-proliferation of handguns in these communities. I am renewing my call for a Joint Gun and Gang Task Force to deal with the surge in gang-related activity and gun violence in New York,” said Borough President Adams. 

“We also need a coordinated effort at the Federal, State, and City level to stop the flow of guns into our communities and deter gun trafficking, which is why I’m proud to support the Hadiya Pendleton and Nyasia Pryear-Yard Gun Trafficking & Crime Prevention Act,” he added. 

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