NEW YORK – More than 200 firearms, from .22 caliber pistols to a submachine gun, have been seized in what New York called Monday the biggest seizure of illegal guns in the city’s history.
In a statement, the administration of Mayor Michael Bloomberg hailed the undercover operation as proof its hard line on guns — and controversial “stop-and-frisk” police tactics — work.
The guns seized originated from the southern states of North Carolina and South Carolina — a 12-hour drive to New York along Interstate 95.
No permit is needed to buy a rifle or shotgun in either state, and South Carolina doesn’t require permits for handguns either. Sales of assault rifles in South and North Carolina are unrestricted.
Of the 19 people charged, three were already in custody on unrelated charges. The others were picked up in New York, North Carolina and South Carolina in a series of arrests from Aug. 2.
Stung by the rejection of New York’s controversial stop-and-frisk policy last week by a federal judge who deemed it unconstitutional, Bloomberg’s administration stressed how one suspect expressed jitters about the tactic in a phone call picked up by a court-authorized wiretap.
“I can’t take (the guns) to my house, to my side of town, ’cause I’m in Brownsville,” a low-income and predominantly African-American section of Brooklyn, the suspect said. “So we got, like, whatchamacallit, stop and frisk.”