The tragic killing of Officer Brian Moore has once again placed scrutiny on illegal guns from down south making their way up to New York. NY1’s Dean Meminger filed this report.
The handgun used to kill Officer Brian Moore was stolen from a small pawn shop nearly four years ago.
"Soon after the burglary, we started getting confirmation that some of our guns were showing back up in New York," says Heath Dykes of Perry Police Department.
Twenty-three guns were reported stolen by Little's Bait and Tackle Pawn shop that day in Georgia. Of the 10 guns recovered, nine have been recovered in New York City.
Police Commissioner William Bratton says he's not surprised.
"We refer to it as the iron pipeline. They are bought down there or oftentimes stolen down there, and then moved very quickly up the highway to New York," Bratton says.
Ninety percent of all illegal guns recovered in New York come from southern states like Virginia and Georgia, where there are few gun controls compared to New York.
Often, it's a straw purchase with a person legally buying the weapon, selling it to someone else and then reporting it stolen.
A gun from Georgia was used in the shooting death of Officers Wenjin Liu and Raphael Ramos in December.
The city has tried to seal the pipeline.
In 2006, the Bloomberg administration sued 27 out-of-state gun dealers whose weapons had been traced to a large number of crimes in the city.
Three years later, undercover city investigators proved how easy it is to buy a weapon at out-of-state gun shows, very few questions asked.
An undercover video documented the investigation.
Salesperson: “I don’t need your address.”
Customer: “No background check?”
Salesperson: “Nothing, just show me that you are from Ohio.”
Despite the scrutiny, the flow of illegal guns hasn't stopped.
Experts see little change without new national gun laws—but virtually no one sees that happening anytime soon.
As for the 13 remaining guns stolen from that Georgia gun shop,
“Unfortunately, there is an excellent chance that those 13 guns will be used in additional crimes, probably a place like an urban center in the northeast,” says Professor Daniel Feldman of the John Jay College of Criminal Justice.
That could even include New York.