The large number of guns recovered in the US highlights the worsening gun violence amid the pandemic

2022-06-03 0 By

Euronet, January 31 — Two NYPD officers were killed earlier this month while responding to a domestic disturbance call, according to the European Union News agency.Authorities said the suspects used a Glock 45 semiautomatic pistol stolen in Baltimore in 2017, prompting city and state officials to call for stronger measures to combat gun violence and gun trafficking across state lines.The tragedy highlights growing concerns about the proliferation of guns across the US.A spate of gun recycling in the US highlights worsening gun violence.In 2021, law enforcement agencies in some major US cities seized or recovered large numbers of guns from the past decade, ACCORDING to CNN.Many police departments also report recovering large numbers of ghost guns, which are untraceable and untraceable, often bought online and assembled in homes.’We have to stop the flow of guns,’ New York City Mayor Eric Adams said at a Jan. 24 news conference.We’re taking thousands of guns off the streets, and it seems like for every gun we take off the streets, five come in.This is unacceptable.In New York, police arrested 4,497 gun owners in 2021, up 3 percent from 2020 but up 26 percent from 2019.The seizure comes amid a surge in gun violence in the country since the outbreak of the pandemic war.More than two-thirds of the nation’s most populous cities recorded more homicides in 2021 than the year before, and at least 10 cities set historic homicide records, most of them carried out with firearms, according to data analyzed by CNN.CNN asked police departments in a dozen of the nation’s largest cities for data on gun seizures and recoveries.In all of the eight cities that provided data through the end of 2021, gun recycling was higher last year than in 2020, with several reaching their highest levels in at least a decade.The Chicago Police Department (CPD) recovered more than 12,000 guns in 2021, up from 11,397 in 2020, including those recovered through buyback programs and other voluntary means.Notably, last year’s total included at least 706 assault weapons.That’s 62 percent more than the number recovered in 2020, according to the Chicago Police Department.Experts say the increase in the number of guns and the difficulty of tracking legal and illegal gun ownership makes an effective response to gun violence challenging.The data shows that these guns are involved in shootings and are being found at crime scenes with increasing frequency.Several cities have reported sharp increases in the number of ghost guns recovered over time, and while they make up a relatively small percentage of the total number of guns recovered by law enforcement, their share is growing.San Francisco police seized 1,089 guns in 2021, about 20 percent of them ghost guns.Just five years ago, in 2016, ghost guns accounted for less than 1 percent of all gun seizures.Similar sharp increases are evident in other cities.Baltimore reported 352 ghost gun seizures last year, and Washington state reported more than 400 seizures in 2021, up from 25 in 2018.Raj Vaswani, the acting deputy chief of investigations for the San Francisco Police Department, said the ghost guns officers encounter are often more dangerous than the typical guns his department finds.The San Francisco Police Department also reported that nearly half of all guns seized in homicides in 2020 were ghost guns.Thanks to decades of successful lobbying for gun owners’ privacy, it is impossible to get a full picture of how many guns are purchased legally, let alone illegally.The FBI tracks pre-sale background checks, but there is no federal database of gun sales or ownership.Under a 2003 constitutional amendment, the agency is required by law to destroy records of approved gun buyers within 24 hours of approval.While background checks don’t translate directly into gun sales, the data can serve as a window into America’s interest in buying guns.Background checks spiked in the first months of the epidemic and have remained high ever since.Gun advocacy groups and criminology experts point to the uncertainty of the pandemic as a major driver of gun sales.The National Shooting Sports Foundation firearms Industry trade group estimates that 40 percent of gun buyers in 2020 will be first-time buyers.Mas Chitum, acting deputy director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), said the vast majority of legally purchased guns are never used to commit crimes.But the proliferation of guns in stores and homes brings with it an inherent set of risks.Chitum said part of the agency’s work involves reaching out to gun stores to emphasize the importance of proper gun safety and storage in an environment of increased demand, especially among first-time buyers.The more guns that are not really properly stored, the more likely they are to be stolen.We know that stolen guns are a significant source of crime guns.The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives said in a statement to CNN that firearms with a shorter time of crime have the most immediate investigative potential for law enforcement officers because they may change hands less frequently between the time they are originally purchased and when they are recovered by law enforcement.”Said Daniel Webster, director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Violence Prevention and Policy.The number of guns tracked by the Money Laundering task force increased from about 217,000 in 2015 to just over 393,000 in 2020.He thinks it reflects something very basic, which is that the more guns there are, the more gun crime there is.The U.S. government has not conducted a comprehensive study of the sources of gun trafficking since 2000.Last April, the Biden administration directed the Justice Department to release a new report, which will be updated annually but has not been released.The FBI said the number of homicides in 2020 was up nearly 30 percent from 2019, the largest single-year increase recorded by the agency since it began tracking these crimes in the 1960s.About 77 per cent of homicides reported in 2020 were committed with a gun, up from 74 per cent in 2019.Vaswani of the San Francisco police highlighted the impact of rising gun violence on families and communities, saying children in the community, innocent people caught up in unrelated gun violence.They were just in the wrong place at the wrong time.(Zhao Xi)