NYC Gun Licensing Laws Should Be Part Of De Blasio's Policing Reforms

Gun control sugar daddy Michael Bloomberg has repeatedly touted New York City’s declining crime rate as an example of the success of his gun control agenda, and the need for similar restrictions to be imposed on American citizens exercising their Second Amendment rights. New York City’s crime rate had indeed fallen to the lowest in modern history by 2018, but even though the city’s gun laws were as restrictive as ever, murders and shootings started increasing in 2019. They continued climbing throughout the first few months of 2020, but the numbers really started skyrocketing in May, with a 79% increase in murders and a 64% increase in shootings.

Over the past week, things have gotten exponentially worse. Shootings last week were up an incredible 358% compared to the same week in 2019.

A total of 74 people were wounded in the 55 shootings, at least 19 of them injured in more than a dozen shootings across the five boroughs on Saturday alone. Most of that gunfire was in the Bronx; four of those shootings were in Brooklyn, two in Queens and one in Manhattan, the NYPD said.

One man died, a 35-year-old shot in the neck in Brooklyn. The survivors varied in age from 16 to 47. Some of the victims were innocent bystanders struck by stray gunfire, police said.

On Friday, at least eight shootings were reported. One of those victims also died.

The rise in shootings has exceeded a troubling trend that started earlier this year and comes on the heels of NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea disbanding an anti-crime plainclothes unit that had focused on stopping people and searching  for guns.

If Bloomberg and other anti-gun activists believe that New York City’s gun control laws led to the historic decline in violent crime, then they must also acknowledge the failure of those laws when the violence soars as we’ve seen over the past few months. In fact, Police Commissioner Dermot Shea seemingly dismissed the efficacy of the city’s gun control laws in remarks to reporters on Monday.

Shea told NBC’s Lester Holt last week that the old tactic of “stop, question and frisk” deployed by the anti-crime unit was harmful to communities of color and eroding trust between police and the citizens they swear an oath to protect.

On Monday, Shea reaffirmed his commitment to disbanding the anti-crime unit, telling NY1, “We cannot stop our way out of this problem.”

He implored the justice system in the city to take a tougher stand against people caught with illegal guns or people who have been charged in shootings by changing certain parts of the bail reform law and decisions made by prosecutors.

“We need bad people held accountable,” Shea said.

Bad people do need to be held accountable, but the city also makes it nearly impossible for good people to get the permit required to carry a firearm. If I lived in one of the neighborhoods plagued by violent crime, I might choose to carry for personal protection even though I couldn’t get a permit to carry. Heck, I might even buy a gun off the street if that was the only way I believed I could protect myself.

As I’ve pointed out here before, most of the young black men arrested in New York City for possessing a gun without a license have no serious criminal history, yet they face years behind bars for something that isn’t even a crime in Constitutional Carry states. Hold bad people accountable, but allow good people to exercise their Second Amendment right. At the moment, New York City isn’t doing either, and we’re seeing the results.

The New York Post reported on Monday that there’s an enormous backlog of gun possession cases thanks to the fact that courts have been closed to most business for the past several months, and a top police official says the backlog will take some time to get through once courts reopen. Clearly what the city is doing isn’t enough, and the city’s draconian gun control laws don’t seem to be helping.

Mayor de Blasio and the City Council should move to revamp the city’s gun licensing laws along with other NYPD policies. End licensing and registration of firearms, and adopt a “shall-issue” system of concealed carry licensing that would end the department’s history of corruption in determining who will receive a rare carry permit.

The mayor also needs to be proactive in combatting the gang violence. Moving more uniformed officers into high crime neighborhoods may stop the shooting at that particular location, but it’s no substitute for a much more effective and long-term treatment: arresting and prosecuting those who commit these crimes. That requires not only spending time face-to-face with people in the community, it requires the city to protect those who may be reluctant to testify or even talk to police out of fear of retaliation. It requires actual punishment for the commission of a crime, not a slap on the wrist and a return to the streets. Why would anybody tell a police officer what they know about a shooting, for example, if their own experience is that the perpetrators of violence get taken in for a few days or a few weeks, get released on bond, and take a plea deal for a short stint behind bars and a long probationary sentence?

Every day I do a segment on Bearing Arms’ called the Recidivist Report, where we highlight cases of career criminals and a criminal justice system that continually gives them a pass. Part of it is to expose the lunacy of calling for more laws aimed at legal gun ownership when the criminal justice system can’t even treat violent criminals as seriously as it should, but I also showcase these stories because, in many cases, these are the guys who are responsible for delivering an outsized portion of pain and misery in their own neighborhoods. When the criminal justice system can’t deliver justice, it’s the good people in these communities who suffer the most.

There’s a space for “violence interrupters,” social workers, and programs like Project Exit designed to help gang members leave the life, but those programs alone aren’t going to be enough to turn the tide. It’s time for the city to recognize the right of self-defense and the right to keep and bear arms possessed by every law-abiding New Yorker; remove the non-violent, possessory, felony-level firearm offenses from the books; and ensure the criminal justice system delivers swift and certain consequences for those actually responsible for the violence.