Police in Providence, R.I., seized 176 firearms in the first 10 months of this year. Every gun has a story, but they are very difficult to uncover, says the Providence Journal. Police Chief Hugh Clements. wanted to know more, so he assigned a detective to look beyond the traces done by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. “It’s just good to get a comprehensive look at the presence of guns, because it tells us how to react to gun crimes,” Clements said.
Where are the police finding the most guns? What kinds of firepower are criminals carrying? Is there a “pipeline” bringing illegal guns into Providence? Are they circulating among a group of people? Are people who shouldn’t have guns still able to buy them? Over the past year, Detective Joseph Hanley III has been trying to find the story behind every gun the police collect. The information he gathers goes into a thick report that, at the end of the year, will be sent to a city advisory council that may recommend legislation for the next session of the General Assembly. Rhode Island has among the strictest gun laws in the nation, but guns come in easily from states with more lax laws. In their yearlong effort to study the path of guns recovered by police, investigators expected to find stolen guns. The surprise was learning how many were not reported stolen, but were carried by people who didn’t own them or shouldn’t have them.