Roundtable talk takes aim at gun trafficking
Lawmakers, law enforcement and community organizations came together today for a roundtable discussion about gun trafficking.
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand is proposing legislation that would make gun trafficking a federal crime and carry a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.
Rahsmia Zatar, of youth gang and gun violence prevention group STRONG Youth, joined Gillibrand and others at the roundtable. Zatar says there are too many illegal guns on the streets of Long Island.
"We know that these guns aren't just falling from the sky," says Zatar. "They're coming from somewhere."
"It makes it easier for criminals to just get guns from a gun deal and put them in the back of their truck - bring them to Long Island and sell them to gang members. No background checks, no safety. Just straight from a truck to the hands of a criminal," says Gillibrand.
Suffolk police say they seized 166 illegal weapons last year. That number is up to 235 this year.
Officials say a majority of the illegal guns come from out of state.
"The frightening part is that 75 percent of them over the last three years have come from out of state, so it's a major problem," says Suffolk Police Commissioner Ed Webber.
Suffolk Executive Steve Bellone says the current laws don't make sense.
"We're treating gun possession tougher than we are the people actually trafficking the guns illegally back and forth across state lines," says Bellone.