Hidden and shared by a small group of people who use them when needed, and are always sure to return them, such guns appear to be rising in number in New York, according to the police. It is unclear why. The economy? Times are tough â€” not everyone can afford a gun. â€œThe gangs are younger, and their resources are less,â€ said Ed Talty, an assistant district attorney in the Bronx.
Or perhaps itâ€™s not that there are more communal guns, but rather, that they are easier to identify through forensic science.
â€œWe get a lot more ballistic matches than we ever have before,â€ Lieutenant Ruane said. â€œItâ€™s amazing. You go, how the hell did that match up to that shooting? Itâ€™s a different command, a different borough, Brooklyn or something.â€
The two men who opened the Bronx mailbox may have been momentarily surprised by what they found inside â€” nothing. But they simply went to another hiding spot in the building, in a bag under the stairs, the police said. The building was routinely referred to as â€œVietnam,â€ a name coined during more violent times in the 1980s.
There was the gun.