Southern Brooklyn Councilmember Inna Vernikov is going to be cleared of an illegal gun charge, the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office told THE CITY on Friday — despite social media photos from last month that appeared to show the Republican with a gun on her waist at a counter-protest against pro-Palestinian college students.
A New York law, passed last year, prohibits the possession of firearms at “sensitive locations” including protests — even for licensed gun holders like Vernikov. But state case law holds that for prosecutors to prove a possession charge, the firearm must be operable.
NYPD officers monitoring the rally did not arrest Vernikov or seize the weapon at the time. Instead, police took possession of the gun when she voluntarily turned herself in and handed over the weapon the following morning. When the NYPD inspected the firearm a few weeks later, they found it was missing a key part — the recoil spring assembly — making the gun inoperable, according to a law enforcement source.
As a result, the prosecutors had to drop the charge, a spokesperson for the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office said. It was the first time the charge had ever been brought forth under the new state law in Kings County.