file:///Users/jzachary93/Downloads/Getting%20Guns%20Off%20the%20Streets.pdf   In the article "Getting Guns Off the Streets of New York" from the link on top, do you see any issues at this...



In the article "Getting Guns Off the Streets of New York" from the link on top, do you see any issues at this point that need to be addressed?

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kipling2448 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Handguns are, by definition, small and easily concealed. They are also a factor in a large percentage of crimes committed across the United States. The National Institute of Justice had this to say about the prominent role of firearms in crime in 2011:

" . . .data collected by the FBI show that firearms were used in 68 percent of murders, 41 percent of robbery offenses and 21 percent of aggravated assaults nationwide. Most homicides in the United States are committed with firearms, especially handguns."

New York is not the most violent city in America, but, as the largest city in the United States, as the center of the nation's financial industry and as perhaps the country's most important cultural center, what happens there almost always garners a great deal of attention. As with other large metropolitan areas, New York suffers from a surfeit of firearms on its streets, and those firearms are frequently used in crime, especially by gangs. Consequently, the city's elected and appointed leaders have long sought ways to reduce both the level of violence and the number of guns on its street. During previous Commissioner of Police Ray Kelly's tenure, the department carried out a controversial "stop and frisk" policy that served to both remove guns from the streets and pose a serious risk of transgressing the Constitution of the United States' protections against unwarranted search-and-seizures.

Since Ray Kelly's departure from the position of Police Commissioner, and his replacement by William Bratton, the "stop and frisk" policy has been discarded in favor of a two-track policy of establishing special courts to deal solely with gun-related crimes while also establishing a special unit within the police department dedicated to removing guns from the streets. The new policy, it is figured, will both prove more effective and be less likely to infringe civil liberties, although, given New York's history, a careful watch should be maintained on the special 200-officer force detailed to the new unit to guard against infractions.

Another component of the effort to minimize gun violence by removing firearms from the population is a commonly-used "buy back" program, in which individuals can turn in guns, no questions asked, in exchange for money. While useful, "buy back" programs are generally most successful in eliminating weapons that law-abiding citizens simply wish to get rid of for whatever reason and are happy to be paid for doing so, as is the case with guns handed down from a recently-deceased family member to another family member who has no desire to keep the guns in question.

A major problem common to all cities and towns that seek to rid their streets of guns is the porousness of borders. This has been the reason commonly given for the District of Columbia's failure to reduce gun violence: guns banned in the district are easily accessible in neighboring Virginia. Unless all states acted in consort, the task of reducing the number of guns is inordinately difficult if not impossible.

These, then, are the main issues that need to be addressed. Guns brought into New York from other regions, and the potential for the special police unit to run afoul of constitutional rights remain issues yet to be resolved.