In August, Los Angeles police officers arrested two people in Lincoln Heights carrying a pair of shiny new .22-caliber handguns.
The guns were clean, as though they came right off the shelf — not at all like the ones typically found following arrests. Just days later, officers patrolling in neighboring Northeast L.A. arrested a person with a similar handgun, in the same pristine condition.
A trace of the weapons revealed they came from a batch of 36 handguns reported missing as they were being shipped by train to Tennessee, Los Angeles Police Department officials said.
One of the suspects arrested revealed that he had bought the weapons on the street — and that they had come from cargo trains in the nearby Lincoln Heights rail yards. He casually mentioned that he could not afford the price of a shotgun being offered for sale, police investigators said. Shortly afterward, LAPD and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives arrested two other suspects with two of those shotguns and later learned they were part of a missing shipment of 46 shotguns.
Federal firearms licensees are required by law to report the theft or loss of firearms in transit. The federal government instituted new rules in 2016 after data showed that from fiscal years 2010 through 2014, law enforcement recovered more than 6,600 guns that were traced back to dealers who claimed to have never received their delivery but did not report the theft or loss to federal authorities.
This happens in Chicago too.
Guns are transported like any other freight. A stack of guns going from a central warehouse to regional distribution center will go by pallet.
When criminals raid trains for freight, they can come across those sorts of shipments and it’s a gold mine for them.
What makes this do infuriating is that California has some of the strictest gun control laws in the country.
Union Pacific has complained to the state about the lack of enforcement and prosecution around train robberies.
The guns ending up in the hands of criminals end up there because California’s soft on crime policies encourage gun theft from trains.
California put legal gun owners’ balls in a vice but just less gangs steal pallets of guns from trains.
They don’t care about gun violence or guns on the streets. They just want to keep guns out of your hands because they hate you.