Politicians in New York and California push extreme gun control restrictions under the guise of keeping people “safe.” Governors Gavin Newsom and Kathy Hochul should take note – their voters disagree.
Perception is reality and if voters feel endangered by surging criminal violence and continue to see news stories of violent criminals being let off easy by soft-on-criminal prosecutors in their cities, they will act to ensure their safety. That includes legally purchasing a firearm for self-defense – maybe even as a first-time buyer. It could also mean giving prosecutors or other officials the boot from elected office.
Regardless, residents in cities across the country still perceive politicians as failing to address their safety concerns. It doesn’t matter if those same anti-gun, anti-safety officials repeatedly tell them otherwise.
Empire State Illusion
Last month, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul attempted to calm New Yorkers’ fears about how dangerous their cities have become. She bragged about her administration’s efforts to implement strict gun control. “Our efforts are working,” the governor said.
Gov. Hochul used the example of New York State Trooper Richard Albert, who was shot in the arm after pulling over a speeding car, as how recently-enacted strict gun control is working to keep New Yorkers safe. She failed to mention that the criminal who shot Trooper Albert had a long criminal history, had served an 11-year prison term and was a prohibited individual barred from legally purchasing a firearm. That individual, who took his own life during the standoff, never followed any of the strict laws enacted by Gov. Hochul.
That was June. Now in July, a new report from Siena College reveals New Yorkers aren’t buying the governor’s rosy outlook.
“61% Worry About Being Crime Victim; Half Worry About Their Safety in Public Places,” a new polling report is titled. Those are significant numbers that fly in the face of Gov. Hochul’s false optimism. The report also said that 36 percent of New Yorkers – more than one-third – felt threatened by a stranger’s actions in a public place.
“Crime isn’t just something that happens to others far away according to New Yorkers,” said Don Levy, SCRI’s Director. “While 87% say crime is a serious problem in our state and 57% say it is a problem in their community, a disturbingly high 61% say that they are worried about it happening to them, a majority are concerned about themselves or their loved ones being safe in public places and many are taking steps to protect themselves as best they can.”
That last line is telling.
Dodging, Shifting Blame and Excuses
In New York City, crime still remains front of mind. Examples of criminal violence on subways can be found almost weekly. Metro Transit Authorities nonchalantly stated the crime has been a “bad couple of weeks” for subway riders after multiple stabbings and shootings. Recent notable violence included criminals targeting innocent New Yorkers while driving around on scooters. That included a murderer who randomly shot several people, tragically killing one.
Last week, three people were shot in Times Square, which along with the subways and much of New York City are all prohibited “sensitive areas” that are gun-free zones where law-abiding Americans are barred from carrying a firearm to protect themselves.
The reactions from New York’s leaders are revealing. Gov. Hochul already said she’ll dodge and distract to deny reality. In New York City, Mayor Eric Adams, who has a long gun-control track record, blamed the media for reporting on the violence, not the criminals perpetrating the violence.
“They start their day picking up the news, the morning papers… and they see some of the most horrific events that may happen throughout the previous day,” a defensive Mayor Adams said during an interview. “Plays on your psyche!”
Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg – a George Soros-backed soft-on-crime prosecutor – uttered the truth out loud. “…When one of my family members gets on the train, I, too, get a knot in my stomach,” DA Bragg recently confessed. Perhaps on the first day in office, he shouldn’t have announced a long list of crimes his office would no longer prosecute.
From coast-to-coast, the story’s the same. Gov. Newsom brags of his state’s “leadership” in denying Constitutional rights, attacking the lawfully and Constitutionally-protected firearm industry and all who support and seek to exercise their Second Amendment rights.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)He’s gone on a media lovefest tour for his effort to enact a 28th Amendment to the Constitution that would eradicate the right to keep and bear arms. While he’s teasing presidential ambitions, Californians are left alone to deal with their safety concerns. An annual crime report shows Californians’ fear of increasing crime is justified, according to reporting.
“The 2022 report revealed that the state’s violent crime rate increased by 6.1% since 2021, and property crime was up 6.2%. Homicides dipped very slightly, but robberies jumped by 10.2%,” a release said. “Californians’ perception of crime spiked during the pandemic – as did certain types of crime. Nearly two in three Californians call violence and street crime in their local community a problem. This includes 31% who call them a big problem, a noticeable increase from February 2020 (24%).”
Remember, during the heights of the pandemic, the Los Angeles Police Department told residents to “cooperate and comply” if they found themselves being victimized by criminals. San Francisco residents had enough of George Soros-backed DA Chesa Boudin that they recalled him for his failures to address crime.
Now, another George Soros-backed prosecutor is facing the music she wrote. California’s Alameda County DA Pamela Price is battling a recall effort over her failing soft-on-crime policies. She responded to criticism of her office’s track record by stating that her role “has really no impact on crime.”
Embattled Alameda County DA Pamela Price responds to recall effort, critics
“The DA’s role has really no impact on crime,” Price said.
— Betty Yu (@bett_yu) July 17, 2023
“Many are taking steps to protect themselves as best they can.” That was the line from the Siena College poll. Firearm industry data proves that’s exactly what is happening in states across the country, especially New York and California.
In New York, law-abiding citizens have rejected their politicians’ lies and turned to the Second Amendment. More than 145,000 New Yorkers have purchased a firearm at retail in 2023 so far. Since 2020, that total is 1.4 million. In California, more than 473,000 have purchased a firearm at retail in just the first six months of the year. Since 2020, Californians have bought more than 3.8 million firearms.
As long as gun control politicians, like those in New York and California, continue to deny reality and instead of getting tough on criminals choose to push restrictions that do nothing to improve community safety, Americans will keep making their voices heard. That includes booting them from office at the ballot box or by purchasing a firearm and exercising their right to feel safe.
Larry Keane is SVP for Government and Public Affairs, Assistant Secretary and General Counsel of the National Shooting Sports Foundation.