New York Police Department officials and prosecutors announced details of the “biggest firearm takedown” in New York City history during a Monday press conference. Mayor Michael Bloomberg and other officials also violated gun safety 101 in the process by leaving hundreds of guns on display tables pointing directly at the audience.
As Twitchy correctly points out, one of the most important rules of gun safety is “treat every weapon as if it were loaded.” That rule is clearly violated in the photos below as the guns can be seen pointing at members of the press and others in the audience:
“There is no doubt that the seizure of these guns has saved lives,” Mayor Michael Bloomberg said at the news conference.
Officials in New York are citing the seizure as another example of a persistent black market in which firearms from the South can sell for three times their original price in the city. New York has some of the nation’s strictest gun-control measures and a mayor who has crusaded for tougher laws in other states.
A pair of gunrunners reportedly smuggled firearms into New York City by hiding them in luggage they carried on discount buses that offered cheap fares and lesser odds of getting caught, authorities said Monday.
An undercover city police officer posing as a gun broker for criminal customers bought 254 weapons from the men in dozens of transactions since last year – the largest gun seizures in the city in recent memory. One of the guns was an assault rifle that was disassembled and transported in a girlfriend’s zebra-striped bag, authorities said.
The alleged smugglers, Walter Walker and Earl Campbell, were among 19 people arrested in New York and in North Carolina and South Carolina – states where the guns originated – as the result of a 10-month investigation. Also charged was an aspiring rapper from Brooklyn.
Walker and Campbell were arrested earlier this month by local police in their home states, authorities said. The names of their defense attorneys were not immediately available.
UPDATE: Twitter user @Todd_Harwood also notes that the guns are not locked back into the open position, another gun safety rule violation.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.