A total of 19 people were arrested and 254 guns were seized as a result of the largest-ever confiscation of arms in New York, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said Monday.

Among the weapons impounded were several high-capacity assault rifles and a machine gun, he told a press conference.

"New York is the safest big city in the nation, but year after year, illegal guns flow into our city from states that don't have common-sense laws that keep guns out of the hands of criminals," Bloomberg said.

"There is no doubt that the seizure of these guns - the largest bust in the city's history - has saved lives," the mayor said.

In 2012, New York had the lowest number of murders and shooting incidents since records began to be kept, and this year could have even fewer shootings the way the figures are going now.

Data from the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives show that 90 percent of the guns used in crimes in the city come from outside the state of New York.

The weapons seized in this latest operation came from North Carolina and South Carolina.

Bloomberg and Boston counterpart Thomas Menino founded in 2006 the Mayors Against Illegal Guns organization, which has grown to include more than 1,000 mayors across the United States. EFE