Juan "Junior" Leon, 30, of Astoria, sold as many as 30 firearms, on some occasions while the weapons were loaded with live rounds, to undercover New York City police officers posing as buyers, authorities said.
Leon met with the officers 20 separate times over the course of a year, police and prosecutors said. He was indicted by a Queens grand jury on 107 counts, including criminal sale of a firearm and criminal sale of a controlled substance.
Eleven of the weapons confiscated were originally procured by Corey Odle, 31, and Bryan Brown, 22, both of Newport News, Va., who stole them from households in Virginia and Pennsylvania, NYPD Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said yesterday.
The weapons were then trafficked via Interstate-95 - which authorities have nicknamed "The Iron Pipeline" - and sold in Queens by Leon at a profit, according to Queens District Attorney Richard Brown.
"A small caliber handgun, for example, can be purchased on the streets of Virginia for as little as $75," said Brown. "It comes to New York, it can go up for as much as $1,000."
Now wait a minute, did they just say the guns were stolen from homes? What does that mean for our theory about the differing gun laws in Virginia and New York? Guns can be stolen anywhere, right? But, the District Attorney also said that guns are cheap to buy on the street in VA and worth so much more in NY.
So, I suppose what it means is this. Guns are so common in the homes of Virginia and Pennsylvania residents that burglars can make a nice profit stealing them. Guns are also so prevalent and cheap on the streets of Virginia, that enterprising folks make a business of buying and selling after a nice drive up the New Jersey Turnpike.
What's your opinion? Is the "iron pipeline" a myth invented by the evil gun-banners? Or, given the tremendous disparity in gun laws and attitudes between states like Virginia and New York, is there a continual flow of weapons up that "pipeline?" Which do you think it is?
What about the sting operation that Junior Leon fell for? Is that as distasteful to pro-gun folks as the undercover operators who went to the gun shows at Bloomberg's behest? Are these victimless crimes, as has been said about the gun show sales?
What' s your opinion? Please leave a comment.