Law enforcement officials are angry over the ease with which illegal firearms make it to New York, Connecticut and other states with some of the nation's toughest gun laws, says the Los Angeles Times. Some 90 percent of guns seized in connection with New York City crimes come via what is known as the Iron Pipeline from Virginia, Georgia, Florida and other states linked by Interstate 95, the heavily traveled corridor favored by gun smugglers. The Iron Pipeline is not limited to the highway. Last year, Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson announced the arrests of five men, including a former Delta Air Lines ramp worker, in connection with the transport of weapons on Delta flights from the airline's hub in Atlanta to New York.
In the last 11 months, four New York City police officers have been killed on duty with guns that arrived via the Pipeline. In December, a gunman used a weapon bought at a Georgia pawn shop to kill NYPD officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos. Five months later, a gun stolen from another Georgia pawn shop was used to kill officer Brian Moore. Last week, officer Randolph Holder died after being shot in the head with a handgun that officials say originated in South Carolina. “We have a spigot that's wide open down there,” said Police Commissioner William Bratton this week at a news conference called to announce the takedowns of two more gun-smuggling rings. The disparity in state gun laws has become the latest focus of gun-control advocates, led by President Obama, who say the federal government must step in to fill gaps created by the patchwork of legislation that allows things like the Iron Pipeline to thrive. “It is easier in some communities to find a gun than it is to find some fresh vegetables at a supermarket,” Obama told the International Association of Chiefs of Police in Chicago.