As I’m wedged in the back of an NYPD Strategic Response vehicle, the officers rip through the clogged Manhattan streets on a frostbitten Sunday afternoon. The destination is not the usual crime-plagued pockets of the Bronx or Brooklyn, but the lower east side of the island borough dotted with designer stores and trendy cafes frequented by the fashion elite and the high-rolling banker set. The word is that a man is holed up in a high-rise apartment with a firearm, possibly holding a woman hostage. For hours, curious and concerned locals and tourists poke around the barricade. Everyone tunes into the infamous Citizen app for updates and videos of the crime scene. The police response rapidly thickens with canines and high-level armed personnel blocking the Bleecker Street doors. Armed and armored, officers make their way up the spiral stairs. But, as daylight gave way to darkness, it was suddenly all over. Streetlights flicked on, the yellow tape was pulled down, and the Big Apple went on as normal. “It turns out he had already fled the scene,” an NYPD officer, who was not authorized to speak on the record, said to me as he ripped off his bullet proof vest and put away his rifle. “It’s now on the detectives to track him down.” While it was unclear whether the man at the center of the ordeal possessed a firearm legally—obtaining permits in New York City is next to impossible in the heavily restricted metropolis—with the murder rate beginning to rise in places like New York City, it raises the chilling question of how criminals obtain guns. The blunt truth is that it’s the law-abiding citizens who want to utilize their Second Amendment rights who are harmed by wrongheaded gun-control policies. What rarely gets noticed across the ever-churning news cycle are the many individual acts of violence—almost 500,000 violent crimes are committed annually, according to the National Institute of Justice—perpetrated by criminals who have obtained their guns illegally.
“Pencils don’t misspell words, nor do guns kill people,” said Richard Schoeberl, program chair at the School of Social Sciences, Criminal Justice and Homeland Security at The Justice Center in Tennessee. “People kill people and your average everyday criminal is not purchasing his or her gun from a reputable establishment. These weapons are stolen or purchased illegally.” [full article]