Governor Kathy Hochul has announced that State Police are reporting a 104 percent increase in gun seizures this year, statistics boosted by a months-long investigation that resulted in the recovery of a large cache of firearms and the arrest of multiple suspects who were involved in a gun trafficking ring. The successful investigation was conducted by the State Police Gun Trafficking Interdiction Unit. Governor Hochul secured $2.5 million to fund 14 GTIU positions in the FY 2023 Budget following the creation of the unit last summer. This substantial uptick in gun seizures is a direct result of these types of strategic investments to support law enforcement initiatives that crack down on illegal firearms.
“We continue to make real progress in our aggressive fight against the gun violence that has plagued New York,” Governor Hochul said. “Through our support for the new State Police Gun Trafficking Interdiction Unit, we are focused on investigating and bringing to justice those who are trafficking guns into the state and selling them illegally to other criminals who are intent on circumventing the state’s gun regulations. I was proud to help secure $2.5 million in State Budget funding for this specialized unit to support their critical work, and today we send a strong message to gun traffickers everywhere: we will hold them accountable for their role in bringing violence to our streets and will continue to seize illegal guns.”
State Police Superintendent Kevin P. Bruen said, “I want to thank the Governor for her continued support. We are fully committed to slowing the flow of illegal guns into our state, through the commitment of our own resources and collaboration with law enforcement partners at all levels.”
Late last year, the State Police GTIU started its very first investigation into a gun trafficking ring operating in multiple jurisdictions. The months-long investigation resulted in the execution of search warrants at multiple locations in various counties. Overall, the case resulted in the seizure of 30 guns, including six assault rifles, seven high-capacity magazines, twelve ghost gun pistols and assorted ghost guns parts. Multiple individuals have been arrested. Additional information is being withheld at this time because of pending prosecution.
The State Police GTIU was created last summer to target the trafficking of illegal guns in New York, and conducts complex, long-term investigations that focus on mitigating the source of supply. The goal of the GTIU, along with other law enforcement agencies who are partnering on investigations, is to reduce illegal gun possession and the violent crime that often follows.
So far this year, State Police have seized 795 guns, a 104 percent increase compared with the 389 guns seized over the same period last year. Overall, 3,166 gun seizures have been reported by all law enforcement agencies in the state compared to 2,181 during the same period last year, an increase of 45 percent.
The State Police GTIU is one of several initiatives supported by Governor Hochul to aggressively attack the gun violence epidemic in New York State. This includes the Interstate Task Force on Illegal Guns, a first in the nation initiative bringing together law enforcement representatives from Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Quebec, as well as the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) and the New York City Police Department, to share intelligence, strategies and tactics related to gun trafficking investigations.
The FY 2023 State Budget included $227 million to fund bold initiatives that will strengthen the gun violence prevention efforts of law enforcement and community-based organizations. It includes $13.1 million to expand the use of Community Stabilization Units, $18 million in direct support to local law enforcement for gun violence prevention, $20 million for regional needs in the aftermath of gun violence, and $3 million for the Office of Gun Violence Prevention.