The problem of community guns is not limited to Albany. Investigators in Suffolk County, N.Y., recently recovered a gun that has been linked to the execution-style murders of three students in a Newark, N.J., schoolyard and may have been involved in at least two other out-of-state murders. The Suffolk County district attorney's office believes the gun may have moved to New York through a gang network that has a custom of recycling guns used in violent crimes.
Within the last year, police in cities such as Cleveland, Trenton, Philadelphia and Boston have found troves of weapons in abandoned buildings that they believe were shared among criminals.
To combat community weapons, the Albany County district attorney is asking owners of all vacant lots and buildings — attractive locations for shared guns — in the city to give police permission to search their property at any time.
Of the 1,300 requests, so far 320 property owners have agreed and 10 have refused, according to the district attorney's office. John Fenimore, president of the Capital District Association of Rental Property Owners, said the request from the district attorney's office was "too broad" and that he would not sign it.