Close-up stories
about guns in New York City

Gun fatalities in New York City have steadily declined over the last decade. Most New Yorkers will never fire a gun, thanks largely to strict gun control laws.Yet gun violence impacts the lives of many residents – from young witnesses to gang members – particularly in neighborhoods disproportionately wracked by shootings. Point Blank aims to tell stories of what it’s like when guns are a part of life.

Gun Violence Aftermath

Students from Queens’ Jamaica High School traveled to Albany to tell state legislators how gun violence affects their neighborhoods. The youths, among them witnesses to shootings, shared their experiences in hopes of stemming the bloodshed.

A large portion of gun violence in New York City is concentrated in just a few neighborhoods. Young people between the ages of 15 and 24 are more likely to commit homicide in these areas and young people in the same age range are more likely to be hospitalized as a result of gun violence. (Below) Homicides by firearm per capita in certain neighborhoods and hospitalizations per capita in those same areas in 2010.

‘Gang Banging Is A Lifestyle’

For 20-year-old “Sha Lam,” a self-proclaimed member of the Bloods, the gang provides a sense of camaraderie and family. When “Lam” joined the Bloods, he said he was given a gun – and carries it almost everyday.

Across age groups, some boroughs stack up with higher rates of gun violence. While illegal guns are still a huge problem, rates of hospitalizations from gun assaults has fallen over the years. Despite efforts to reign in smuggling, getting a gun is easy for residents of many New York neighborhoods. (Left) Comparison of gun related violence per capita by borough in 2010. (Below) Firearm hospitalizations have fallen between 2000 and 2010 per capita in New York City.


Decline in NYC Firearm Hospitalizations (2000-2010)

Hitting the Target

Reporter Tola Brennan visits Westside Rifle & Pistol Range in midtown Manhattan to learn how to shoot a rifle. Watch him take his first shot and get introduced to gun culture.



(Above) Rates of firearm fatalities have fallen continuously in New York City compared to less clear progress nationwide. (Right) New York has some of the strictest gun control measures and few residents own a legal gun.


New York City


United States

The Deadly Truth

Most gun deaths are suicides in the U.S., despite the fact that mass shootings and street violence steal the headlines.

(Right) Suicides by gun are far less common in New York City than nationwide, according to statistics from 2011. Overall, most gun deaths are a product of suicide, which is the second highest cause of death for Americans 15 to 34, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Research suggests that suicide attempts by gun are far more likely to succeed than other methods.

The United States

New York City

Dirty Job

Angelo DeFillipis often gets called to shootings, but he’s no cop. The 44-year-old works for a crime scene cleanup company in Brooklyn. DeFillipis walks us through the dangers and traumas of his work.


Kimberly Avalos, Tola Brennan, Camila Cibils, Tatiana Flowers, Nico Grant, Emily Holzknecht, Christopher Inoa, Erica Jackson, Kalalea, Mariya Moseley, Marco Poggio, Jad Sleiman, Christina Thornell, Mary Wilson
Point Blank was produced for the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism’s NYCity News Service under the guidance of Travis Fox and Simon Surowicz.