Illustrating a national gun problem with the cache of wily Mickey Collins
"This is a national problem," said Mayor Michael Bloomberg, standing in front of a table display of 100 guns which he said were sold illegally. "It is a rural problem as well as an urban problem. It is a north, south, east, west problem. There are just too many guns, and guns are used to kill people."
This afternoon, on the second floor of police headquarters, Bloomberg joined Manhattan district attorney Cy Vance and police commissioner Ray Kelly to announce the indictment of 16 gun traffickers for the sale of more than 100 illegal guns, from an AR-15, the same gun used in the Aurora, Colorado shooting spree, to a .22-caliber Smith and Wesson handgun.
Seventy-three of those weapons were allegedly sold by a 64-year-old career criminal named Mickey Collins, who conducted his transactions from the lobby, stairwells and hallways of an apartment building at 35 East 106th Street in East Harlem, according to the administration.
"Getting close to the wily Mickey Collins was no easy matter," said Kelly. "He waited for months before agreeing to meet with the undercover officer, and even longer before he would agree to sell him more than one gun at a time. He appeared to be waiting to see if the police were tracking his initial gun sales."
Several of those weapons are believed to have come from South Carolina.
"South Carolina is the sixth largest exporter of crime guns in the nation," noted John Feinblatt, the mayor's chief policy adviser, and the leader of Mayors Against Illegal Guns, the Bloomberg-underwritten effort that aims to counteract the mighty influence of the N.R.A. at the national level.
Other defendants included a 21-year-old named "Rell," a 17-year-old called "Bills," a 19-year-old known as "Angel," and an 18-year old called "Birdie."
Bloomberg, yet again, called upon the presidential candidates to discuss gun violence, something he said he has done at this point "ad nauseam."
"This is one of the biggest issues domestically in the United States, 48,000 people getting killed [by guns] in the next four years," said Bloomberg. "You would think that they would address it." "