NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — There has been dramatic move to stop the gun violence plaguing city streets.
A Queens man was recently busted with an untraceable arsenal of weapons that he was allegedly making with parts ordered on the internet. They’re called “ghost guns,” CBS2’s Marcia Kramer reported Thursday.
When city politicians talk about the unrelenting wave of gun violence here, they often blame it on the so-called “Iron Pipeline,” guns imported here from the South. Now, cops are trying to shut down what they call the “Polymer Pipeline,” guns assembled in neighborhoods all around the city with cheap plastic parts that are increasingly blamed as one of the reasons for our gun epidemic.
“These are weapons that would have been used and cannot be used now,” Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz said.
Katz was taking about a stunning joint operation with the NYPD that resulted in the arrest of a 36-year-old Queens man, who was charged with making guns in the garage of a red brick home in Richmond Hill.
Manufactured on a quiet street was an arsenal that included AR-15- and AK-47-style assault weapons, handguns, pistols, 15,000 rounds of ammunition, plus the machinery to turn the plastic parts into lethal weapons.
“If there are guns in the city of New York, we are coming to get them,” Katz said.
Police officials say the manufacturing of ghost guns locally is a growing and dangerous trend. Ghost guns, which are untraceable because they have no serial numbers, are increasingly being used in New York City.
“We are seeing an increase in the number of shootings, in the number of shots that are fired from guns, and from the number of 911 calls in which a gun is used in a crime, and we’re seeing an emergence of these guns being recovered being ghost guns,” NYPD Inspector Courtney Nilan said.
The NYPD says since January it has recovered 120 ghost guns that were used in crimes.
The parts are also inexpensive but fetch a good price on the black market, including a basic part called a lower receiver. Costs, “around $125 to $150. You then need to buy the additional components to complete the set and build the functioning firearm for another $100 to $300. When they’re resold, they are resold at a mark up,” Assistant DA Shanon Lacorte said.
One of the assault weapons the defendant was allegedly manufacturing in his garage would set you back, “$2,000 to $3,000 on the black market.”
Katz said the importance of the arrest is that it helps reduce gun violence.
“At the bare minimum, people in New York City deserve to be able to walk their children to school safely, to be able to walk their dog safely, to know that their grandparents can take a walk in the neighborhood,” Katz said.
The use of ghost guns is a growing and frightening trend around the country. Just last week, the LAPD declared ghost guns an epidemic, citing a 400% increase in seizures. Last year, San Francisco said that nearly half of the guns used in homicides were ghost guns.