NYPD partners with ATF in effort to get illegal guns off New York City streets

Police, FBI and Federal ATF agents prepare a robot to enter the home of William Lawrence Hunziker, 46, in Riverside, California
Members of the federal ATF (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms) are collaborating with the NYPD on a major gun crackdown in New York City.
File photo/REUTERS

With gun violence continuing to be a major issue in New York City, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Tuesday that the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) will be teaming up with the NYPD for a major crackdown on illegal firearms.

ATF agents will be directly embedded in the NYPD, according to hizzoner. Agents will work together alongside NYPD officers to help stop the flow of illegal guns. In turn, NYPD intelligence detectives in the ATF gun-tracing team will be deputized and designated as federal agents.

This is the first time the ATF has partnered with a local police department in the United States on such an endeavor. NYPD intelligence detectives will work with the ATF’s gun tracing team to prevent guns from getting into the city.

The joint task force will also create a hub in which city and federal law enforcement can cross state jurisdictions to track guns. 

“This is an unprecedented collaboration,” said de Blasio. “We know that gun trafficking must be attacked on a national level and the ATF leads the way.”

The partnership will utilize the most up-to-date tools to remove illegal weapons and reduce crime. 

“Every gun tells a story, every bullet tells a story, every shell casing tells a story and ATF technology helps us bring it all together,” said John Miller, the NYPD’s deputy commissioner for intelligence and counter-terrorism.

“It’s not a matter of if, but when we’ll come calling,” added John DeVito, special agent in charge of ATF in New York State.

DeVito says all information on guns used in shootings will be pooled together in an effort to disrupt the shooting cycle. 

Noticeably absent from the announcement was NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea. 

“Commissioner Shea is leading the way on so many of these pieces,” said De Blasio. 

De Blasio says the task force wasn’t created until now because the pandemic had been the city’s priority. Now that the city is seeing progress in that regard, the attention has shifted towards crime. 

The mayor has long stated that as the city continues to recover, crime will go down.