Shotguns among most popular weapons for criminals in New York City

BY ALISON GENDAR
DAILY NEWS POLICE BUREAU CHIEF

Thursday, February 28th 2008, 4:00 AM
For the first time in seven years, shotguns are among the most popular weapons of criminals in New York City. Mahon for News

For the first time in seven years, shotguns are among the most popular weapons of criminals in New York City.

Shotguns are no longer just for farmers.

For the first time in seven years, shotguns are among the most popular weapons of criminals in New York City.

Federal data show that 394 shotguns were seized from thugs in the city last year - making the weapon the fourth most popular gun among criminals.

Handguns are still city criminals' favored weapon, said Michael Sullivan, acting director of the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

Some 3,260 of the 5,913 firearms taken from city crooks were semiautomatic pistols. Revolvers were second on the list of seized guns with 1,637 traced by the feds, Sullivan said.

Unlike handguns, shotguns can be bought legally in counties just outside the city without a permit or an extensive background check. They also typically sell for $200 or less, authorities said.

The total number of guns seized across the city in 2007 fell 16% from the previous year, but was roughly the same as 2003 and 2004, authorities said.

"There were over 1,100 fewer guns found on city streets in 2007 compared to 2006 - that's more than 1,100 fewer chances for gun violence to harm innocent New Yorkers," said Mayor Bloomberg. "It is an impressive figure that complements the fact that in 2007, the city experienced the fewest number of murders since records started being kept more than 40 years ago."

Gun arrests made by the NYPD also fell 5.8% last year, to 3,551 from 3,772 in 2006.

The so-called "iron pipeline" - the route traffickers use to smuggle guns into the city from southern states - was still bustling however. About 87% of guns seized in the city were traced to other states, Sullivan said.

Bloomberg has been crusading for tougher federal gun laws to prevent weapons from being smuggled into the city.

Federal authorities noted that guns used in crimes throughout New York City increasingly tend to be older weapons.

The average time between when a weapon was legitimately sold to when it was used to commit a crime last year was 13 years. That's up from 9.4 years in 2002, which authorities say is a sign that they are dismantling some gun trafficking operations.

agendar@nydailynews.com

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