ALBANY, N.Y. (WKBW) — A new interstate task force aimed at cracking down on illegal gun trafficking is holding its first meeting Wednesday.
Governor Kathy Hochul announced the Interstate Task Force on Illegal Guns during her State of the State address. It includes representatives from New York State Police, NYPD, the ATF and law enforcement representatives from nine northeastern states.
Those states include New York, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Vermont, Ohio, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New Hampshire.
Hochul says during the January 26 meeting at the New York State Intelligence Center outside of Albany, the task force will work on setting up its information-sharing consortium and crime analysis centers, along with inter-jurisdiction ways to share intelligence, tracing tools, strategies and tactics while partnering with prosecutors and law enforcement agencies in each region.
As part of the effort to curb gun violence across the state, Hochul is asking for nearly $9 million in funding for the New York State Police to hire new recruits, gun crime tracing analysts, social media analysts and computer crime experts in her 2023 state budget proposal. She also pledged nearly $4 million to invest in equipment and software for a computer and cyber crimes unit within the State Police.
The state says data shows interstate gun trafficking is a major problem.
The New York State Police Criminal Gun Clearinghouse recovered 1,074 illegal guns in 2021; NYPD says preliminary statistics show its officers traced 4,473 illegal guns from out-of-state sources, the majority coming from states like Florida, Georgia and South Carolina.
Police say a similar effort in Buffalo and Rochester saw a lot of success in 2021: the VIPER Task Force made more than 130 arrests in just its first two weeks, nearly one-third of which were firearm-related.