New York lawmakers urge ATF to send more agents to Long Island to fight illegal guns


A New York lawmaker Thursday asked the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to send more agents to Long Island to fight the illegal firearms trade in Nassau County.

In a letter to ATF Director Steven Dettelbach, Rep. Anthony D’Esposito argued that Long Island’s “crime explosion” had overwhelmed local law enforcement agencies and left them unable to focus on investigating the source of illegal weapons, flooding New York’s 4th congressional district.

“Just last year, two Georgians were arrested for smuggling more than 25 guns into Nassau County, 11 of which were found at the scene,” D’Esposito wrote in his letter. “This is unacceptable. The Long Island arms trade harms our communities and we must do everything in our power to ensure local law enforcement is equipped with the resources and tools they need to keep our communities safe. ”

A handgun seized during ATF’s Operation Sudden Impact in California.
Corbis via Getty Images

Police in Nassau County seized about 278 illegal firearms last year, up from at least 195 in 2021 and 183 in 2020.

D’Esposito, a former NYPD detective, believes that increased cooperation between the ATF and the Nassau County Police Department — including the creation of more federal agents in Nassau — can help stem the flow of guns into Long Island.

“It is my understanding that there is a significant difference between the number of ATF officers on Long Island and those in New York City. I ask that you increase your cooperation with local law enforcement agencies to help with investigations and fight the arms trade,” D’Esposito writes.

The House of Representatives last week passed D’Esposito’s pro-law enforcement resolution by a vote of 268 to 156 condemning calls to “cut police funding.” 62 Democrats supported the New York City Police Department’s action.

The resolution also codified a federal “Bill of Rights” for police officers, also proposed by D’Esposito.

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