ALBANY, N.Y. (WTEN) – Governor Kathy Hochul was at the New York State Police Forensic Investigation Center Thursday morning, talking about privately made firearms (PMFs), or ghost guns. She announced that 20 investigations are currently underway into illegal gun trafficking across the state.
The guns, Hochul said, are commonly transported along I-81 toward Syracuse, over to Rochester, and then down through Brooklyn and the Bronx. “People are loading up trucks with weapons that they’re bringing across the state lines,” said the Governor, emphasizing that these guns are not being made in New York.
Hochul went on to detail that the New York State Police have increased illegal firearm seizures by 104% in the past year. There have been over 6,000 seizures in 2022, she said, and 71 gun-tracing investigations statewide.
Weekly meetings have been in the works for the Governor since the Legislature passed new gun control measures a month ago. The new laws banned concealed carry weapons in sensitive places, expanded the state’s red flag laws, and made it more difficult to get a permit. They go into effect on September 1.
New York State Police Superintendent Kevin Bruen took the podium after the Governor, and detailed the work of the gun trafficking unit, strengthened recently by millions of dollars in the state budget. The new gun control efforts take time to implement, said Bruen, adding that most police resources were focused on narcotics in recent years.
There were hundreds of firearms and evidence laid out on a table in the conference room, as part of a recent seizure by state police. The efforts are different from past state gun initiatives, Bruen said, because they’re pursuing the manufacturing sources for the gun parts that make it easy to build illegal weapons at home.
Hochul said the ghost gun initiative isn’t a substitute for other action against gun violence, and touted recent changes to the state’s bail laws that took effect in May. “When we get everyone doing their jobs… district attorneys, do your jobs,” Hochul said.
A special session of the legislature to amend bail isn’t anticipated at this time, Hochul said. The new changes have been in effect just over two months, and need time to have an impact, she concluded.