It starts off with the anti gun Karens saying things like “We don’t want to ban all guns. We support the 2nd Amendment. We just want common sense gun safety measures,” as they try to ban 11+ round magazines and AR15’s.
It progresses now to police seizing airsoft pellet guns and inoperable guns with no bolt and no trigger assembly, as citizens are now charged felonies for possessing such.
That’s the nightmare one New York City woman is currently living.
The brave and stunning officers of NYPD’s 112th conducted a raid on Elizaveta Zlatkis’s home and found twenty one apparently illegal airsoft guns and one gun with no trigger assembly that is incapable of operating. She’s facing 25 years in prison. These items are perfectly legal in pretty much every other state.
NYPD officers acting on a tip last December raided the home of Elizaveta Zlatkis and found a cache of guns scattered around her Forest Hills apartment. The next day, cops from the 112th Precinct arranged the 22 seized weapons on a table and posed for a Twitter photo commemorating the bust.
Queens prosecutors charged Zlatkis, 31, with first-degree criminal possession of a weapon — a charge that carries a possible 25-year prison sentence — and a few local news outlets covered the case.
There was just one problem with the narrative and the charges: 21 of the 22 supposed firearms were airsoft rifles, toy replicas or starter pistols — the kind used at track meets — incapable of firing ammunition, according to the NYPD’s own laboratory reports.
The one actual firearm was rendered “inoperable” because the trigger, hand grip and internal components were all missing, according to the NYPD’s firearms analysis.
But a year after her Dec. 27, 2019 arrest, Zlatkis is still facing the first-degree weapons charge, which is based on possession of ten or more firearms. Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz has declined to drop the case against Zlatkis, who has refused to take a plea deal.
After spending a night in the 112th Precinct following her arrest last year, Zltakis was released on her own recognizance at arraignment. The judge recognized the absurdity of the charges even then, said her attorney Joe Murray.
“Not a single gun was real,” said Murray, who ran for Queens DA in 2019.
“I want to clear her name. She’s not a gangster.”
The Queens District Attorney’s Office did not respond to a request for comment about the case.*
The commanding officer for the 112th Precinct referred questions to the NYPD’s press office.
“Firearms were recovered on Friday, December 27, 2019 in regard to a search warrant and deemed inoperable at a later date,” said Detective Denise Moroney, an NYPD spokesperson.
The raid took place nearly a year ago, but the public has only recently recognized the insanity. That’s due, in part, to NYPD’s initial framing of the narrative to be that seized an arsenal of illegal guns, without any mention of the fact that the guns are toys/props.
Great job yesterday from our Field Intelligence Officer and Special Operations Unit for a successful search warrant taking multiple guns off the streets of Forest Hills. pic.twitter.com/4oNwIeRjYp
— NYPD 112th Precinct (@NYPD112Pct) December 28, 2019
The same precinct is coming for your old revolvers, too:
Yesterday afternoon, while conducting a search warrant of an apartment,Police Officer Winston and Sergeant DeVita were able to recover an illegal firearm. We thank these two officers for all of their hard work. pic.twitter.com/XszOAgqim7
— NYPD 112th Precinct (@NYPD112Pct) November 9, 2020
She’s not a gangster, but in the eyes of the law Zlatkis may very well be a gun owner, since a firearm is defined federally to include a finished frame or receiver for a gun, even if it doesn’t have a trigger attached to it. Even starter pistols meet the definition of a firearm under federal law because the ATF says they can be “readily converted” into a real firearm.
Zlatkis is facing first degree criminal weapons charges, which in New York state is reserved for cases that involve ten or more firearms. As far as prosecutors are concerned, it doesn’t make any difference that none of the guns were actually capable of firing live ammunition. If Zlatkis possessed at least ten starter pistols or inoperable guns, that’s enough to charge her with a crime punishable by up to 25 years in prison.
What gives this case an extra dose of lunacy is the fact that, while Zlatkis is looking at decades behind bars for possessing non-functional firearms, those arrested in New York City for actually shooting someone are quickly returning to the streets.
Among those accused of committing another crime after an initial gun charge is Tremayne Silvia, 41, who cops say shot a man in the head just weeks after he was let out of jail following his arrest in another shooting.
Silvia allegedly fired a bullet at a woman’s fence while the two argued at 164th Street and 107th Avenue in Jamaica, Queens, on July 26, according to a criminal complaint. He was arrested a week later, on Aug. 4, after cops say they spotted him near that same corner, and found him carrying a loaded gun and eight glassine envelopes of heroin.
But Silvia paid his $30,000 bail bond three days after his arrest, leaving him free to terrorize the same corner again on Sept. 13, as a wake for a Marine vet was happening nearby, police said.
In that incident, Silvia allegedly shot Jemay Pollard while he was standing with a group outside a home. Police are currently looking to arrest Pollard in that case.
The New York Post reports that 247 people arrested for illegally possessing a gun this year have been accused of new crimes within just 60 days of their first arrest, and only 32 of them are currently behind bars. The rest have all been let loose even as the number of shootings in the city continues to rise at rates unseen for a decade or more.
New York City continues to get its approach to guns completely backwards. Law abiding citizens face immense difficulties in legally purchasing and keeping a gun in their home, and it’s a near impossibility for the average citizen to obtain a carry license. Meanwhile, those accused of illegally possessing a gun and using it in a violent crime are given a slap on the wrist and sent on their way in the hopes that they’ll return for their trial.
You may remember the story of Deanna Jo Robinson, the mother and Air Force veteran who was thrown into Rikers Island for having her small CCW pistol on her as she visited the state in 2017. She eventually reached a conditional agreement with the DA and all charges were dropped.