Pa. and N.J. efforts could chip away at gun crime | Editorial

Pa. and N.J. efforts could chip away at gun crime | Editorial

Gun Rights

MICHAEL BRYANT / Staff Photographer The semi-automatic rifle used in the fatal shooting of 2-year-old Nikolette Rivera last October in Kensington and later sold in Camden was among 36 firearms recovered in that city by a joint Pennsylvania-New Jersey law enforcement probe into illegal gun trafficking between the two states. “Operation Zombie” also led to the arrest of five suspects and helped publicize the launch of a PA/NJ Gun Trafficking Initiative aimed at interrupting the so-called iron pipeline of illegal firearms. These pipelines exist regionally and nationally because of the continued lack of reasonable firearms regulations. But this bistate effort does hold the promise of improving the tools available to gun crime investigators on the street. Whether sold one-on-one or by organized groups of individuals, such as the five “Operation Zombie” suspects , many of those guns flow from Philly to Camden — thanks in part to New Jersey’s regulations on legal firearms sales, which are stronger than Pennsylvania’s. About 80% of the guns used for criminal purposes in New Jersey are brought in from other states , according to the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. New Jersey is a lucrative market for illicit guns. The new initiative likely won’t be the last such partnership as the carnage continues on Philly’s streets. Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro last July announced a statewide program called Track + Trace to toughen investigations of how guns purchased legally end up in the hands of convicted felons or other criminals. […]

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