A TEC-9 and an Uzi-style gun are among the illegally possessed weapons Utica Police have taken off the streets in the last year.

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That's according to Sgt. Michael Curley of UPD, who says both fall into a pile of other semi-automatic firearms confiscated by Utica cops, along with the increasingly prevalent 'ghost gun' - a weapon usually assembled at home, made from ghost gun kits available for purchase on online and elsewhere - which are untraceable because they lack a serial number. And, don't let the thought of a DIY, home-made gun fool you. Bullets fired from ghost guns can kill you just as easily as the semi-autos mentioned above.

Since last July, 62 such illegal guns were taken off the streets. Exactly half have come since the start of the calendar year, Curley tells WIBX 950.

Those figures actually reflect a decline in the number of guns taken off the streets in a 'typical' year for Utica - approximately 80-90, Curley said. However, he says that's due in part to the pandemic. More recently, an 'increase of proactive policing' has yielded at least at least eleven illegally possessed or owned firearms just this month.

That proactive style has been assisted by the GIVE (Gun Involved Violence Enforcement) program, a state funded grant that allows ''agencies use the funding for equipment, overtime, training, technical support and personnel, including crime analysts and prosecutors'' to reduce gun violence , according to the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services. The agencies, of which Utica is one of 17 outside of New York City to receive money, ''must design a gun violence reduction plan that employs at least two of the following evidence-based strategies: hot-spots policing, focused deterrence, street outreach and crime prevention through environmental design.''

A person caught carrying an illegal, loaded weapon faces at least two felonies in New York State, Curley Said:

  • Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the second-degree (Class C felony)
  • Criminal Possession of a Firearm (Class E felony).

Additional charges may be included for other reasons, including if the weapon's serial numbers is defaced or if the person who possesses it has prior criminal history.

Ultimately, seized weapons are stored by prosecutors until a case is decided, he said. Later, they get melted as scrap.

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