Democrat New York City Mayor Eric Adams was elected to get his city back on a path to safety. He’s instead continued down the path of his predecessors to punish law-abiding New Yorkers. He’s failed to turn the focus and resources towards those that commit crimes and hold them to account.
The result is surging crime and Mayor Adams’s recent “big announcement” was a nationalized gun control plan that will do little in his city.
Facing the likelihood that the U.S. Supreme Court will strike down New York’s restrictive “may issue” pistol permitting law, Mayor Adams’ plan is to instill fear. He told media, “We should be very afraid. I’m very concerned.”
New York is one of just eight “may issue” states that restrict concealed carry permits to law-abiding gun owners based on the whims of bureaucrats. New Yorkers must first prove they have a “good enough” reason before a government agency allows a permit to protect oneself outside the home.
This differs from other states where if a firearm owner who passes the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) verification and applies for a carry permit, the state “shall issue” the permit.
States with “may issue” restrictions are ripe for corruption. California and New York – specifically in Mayor Adams’s New York City – are prime examples of why the law should be struck down. In 2016, federal prosecutors uncovered a pay-to-play scheme within the New York Police Department’s licensing division where workers were paid thousands of dollars to rubber-stamp carry permits. Four officers connected to the scheme were arrested.
The corruption is disgusting enough but the right for law-abiding Americans to carry a firearm shouldn’t be left to arbitrary whims and inconsistent decision makers. The landmark 2008 U.S. Supreme Court Heller decision recognized the pre-existing right of Americans to own and possess firearms for self-defense. The court will shortly rule on New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen challenging New York’s “may issue” law in the coming weeks.
Mayor Adams likely sees the writing on the wall. Make no mistake, a Supreme Court ruling that strikes down NYSRPA v. Bruen is a good thing for law-abiding New Yorkers and Americans protecting themselves and their families. The prospect of “may issue” laws falling, though, has national gun control groups, President Joe Biden, New York Democratic Gov. Kathy Hochul and Mayor Adams scared.
“This is a significant issue for our city: it is the right to carry. After what we saw what the Supreme Court did on abortions, we should be very afraid,” Mayor Adams said, referring to a pending gun rights case. “In a densely populated community like New York, this ruling could have a major impact on us.” He continued, saying, “But we should all be concerned.”
The mayor is flat wrong. No greater example exists than the recent Brooklyn subway attack, where one individual targeted innocent New Yorkers left defenseless by New York’s strict gun laws.
Mayor Adams isn’t offering protection against criminals, given the two-year surge in criminal violence in New York City and across the country that has seen prosecutors go soft-on-criminals, often releasing them to commit additional crimes and the rise of “defund the police” policies and law enforcement stretched thin by resignations and retirements. This was the exact reasoning raised by Supreme Court Justices during the case’s oral arguments in November 2021.
Justice Brett Kavanaugh questioned New York’s solicitor general about why the discretionary law should stand. “Why isn’t it good enough to say I live in a violent area, and I want to be able to defend myself? With any constitutional right, if it’s up to the discretion of an individual officer, that seems inconsistent with an objective constitutional right.”
Justice Samuel Alito asked, “How many illegal guns were seized by the New York Police Department last year? All these people with illegal guns, they’re on the subway, and they’re walking around the streets. But the ordinary, hard-working, law-abiding people I mentioned, no, they can’t be armed?”
The former U.S. Solicitor General arguing for permit applicants and NYSRPA told the Court, “At the end of the day, I think what it means to give somebody a constitutional right is that they don’t have to satisfy a government official that they have a really good need to exercise it or they face atypical risks.”
Words vs. Actions
Mayor Adams campaigned on getting tough on crime and returning safety to his city’s residents. His actions have shown just the opposite. He claimed while campaigning that he himself would carry concealed on the job and forego the mayor’s private security detail. Those were both false as he later admitted.
Instead of focusing on the criminals committing violent crimes and holding them to account, he’s parroted a gun control agenda that was more likely pulled from President Biden’s false talking points.
“The problem we’re facing is a problem that is hitting our entire nation right now and that is why it is a national response,” Mayor Adams recently said. “We need a national response to this issue.”
Instead of focusing on “a national response,” the mayor should focus on criminals in his city. If he’s not going to follow through on those promises, New Yorkers are right to want to arm themselves for safety and security. He shouldn’t be concerned about their Constitutional right to do so.
Larry Keane is SVP for Government and Public Affairs, Assistant Secretary and General Counsel of the National Shooting Sports Foundation.