What if the nation’s War on Violent Crime is just like the nation’s War on Drugs, a clever ruse to cover the government’s own involvement in the smuggling and dealing of illegal arms on to the streets of our inner cities? What if Iran Contra is the international version of what happens inside the US.
The silver Taurus semiautomatic handgun used to kill two police officers in New York City began its journey into the hands of the gunman, Ismaaiyl Brinsley, a felon with a history of mental illness, at a pawnshop here bristling with guns for sale.
It was at Arrowhead Pawn Shop, a sprawling store tucked into a shopping center along a busy commercial corridor in this city of 4,700 people just south of Atlanta, that the gun was last purchased in a legally traceable transaction in 1996, according to a police official who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the continuing investigation.
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As recently as 2010, Arrowhead was the leading out-of-state source of guns recovered in crimes by the New York Police Department, according to an article in The Daily News. Georgia is also part of the “Iron Pipeline,” a chain of Southern states with looser gun laws that is responsible for sending a steady stream of firearms into New York and other Northern cities, where there are many more restrictions on who can purchase a gun.
When a gun is recovered in a crime, investigators from the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives assist local law enforcement agencies by identifying through purchasing records the last time the gun was sold through a licensed a gun dealer. Gun control advocates, as well as some law enforcement officials, including in New York City, have called for curbs on stores that are responsible for unusually high volumes of crime gun traces. They are particularly concerned about places where there is a short duration between when the gun was last sold and when it was recovered by the police in a crime.
Information in the federal database on which gun dealers turn up most frequently in these traces is closely protected, as a result of legislation passed in 2003. But The Washington Post obtained four years’ worth of trace data in 2010 and found Arrowhead was the fifth-largest source of crime traces in the country.
Why would our government pass a law protecting gun dealers from public scrutiny when it comes to their involvement in violent crimes? It makes no sense whatsoever, unless our government has something to do with those sales or has something else to hide.
It’s ironic that the killing of two police officers in perhaps one of the worst, most high profile acts against police in recent times, would become a turning point for uncovering an elaborate network for smuggling illegal arms onto the streets of our nation.