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NYC Mayoral Candidates Target Guns And Policing

AP Photo/Mark Lennihan

For almost a year now we’ve been discussing the growing paradox for Democrats when it comes to policing and gun control. Most of the party is fully on board with creating new, non-violent, possessory firearm crimes that will be enforced by the police while at the same time they’re calling for defunding law enforcement and “reimagining policing” because they believe the current system is rife with systemic racism.

You’d think by now they would have realized that they can’t have it both ways, but most Democrats are still willing to ignore inherent contradiction between the desire for more gun laws and the growing opposition to law enforcement, including the bulk of those Democrats running to be the next mayor of New York City.

In the wake of a shooting in Times Square this past weekend, a number of mayoral candidates are sounding off about their desire to crack down on both guns and the NYPD.

Ex-top de Blasio aide Maya Wiley and former Obama big Shaun Donovan stuck to plans to cut funds from the NYPD, saying they would crack down on guns in the meantime. Former Sanitation Commissioner Kathryn Garcia, who’s shied away from calls to defund the police, promised to expand the city’s gun buyback program, among other steps.

How ironic that the city’s former Sanitation Commissioner would offer up a garbage proposal like expanding gun “buybacks,” which don’t do squat to reduce crime, suicides, or accidental shootings.

Meanwhile, Shaun Donovan, who not only worked in the Obama administration but was a part of Michael Bloomberg’s mayoral team as well, says he wants to cut billions from the NYPD budget while still focusing on violent crime.

Speaking outside a police precinct in Brownsville, Brooklyn, Donovan said he’d trim $500 million total from both the NYPD and Correction Department within two years of taking office. The funds would go toward violence prevention programs and other efforts to keep New Yorkers out of the criminal justice system, he said. The cuts would go up to $3 billion total by the end of 2025.

 

Donovan, who was head of the Office of Management and Budget under former President Barack Obama and former Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s housing commissioner, said he’d focus the NYPD on guns and violent crime.

 

He promised to use data tools to track the flow of guns, get the authorities to “fast track” gun cases and work with the Biden administration and other states to “close the out-of-state gun pipeline.”

“If we reduce what we’re asking the police to do and focus them on guns and violent crime, we can create both safety and respect at the same time,” he said.

Focusing on “guns” and focusing on violent crime are two different things. What none of the Democrats running to replace Bill de Blasio seem to understand is that the city’s draconian gun laws are actually fueling the black market for guns. It costs hundreds of dollars and takes months in order for someone to receive the government’s permission to keep a gun at home, and there’s simply no way for the average resident of New York City to obtain a permit to carry, even if they’ve gone through all the required training and are willing to go through the intensive investigation (including the NYPD looking through financial records and talking to character references). If people can’t legally obtain a firearm, some of them will invariably get one illegally, even if they have no intention of using the gun for anything other than self-defense.

One easy way to get the NYPD to focus on violent crime is to remove the restrictive and subjective licensing laws that help to increase the demand for illegally-obtained firearms. Instead, candidates like Garcia are proposing throwing money at people who turn guns over to police.

Garcia also took to an NYPD precinct, in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, to outline her gun plans.

 

She said she’d boost the rebate rate for the city’s cash-for-guns program from $200 to $2,000 and increase the number of police precincts that participate in the program.

 

“We want New Yorkers to have the money to buy necessities and pay rent — not guns,” Garcia said.

A gun may be a necessity for some New Yorkers, especially those living in high-crime neighborhoods, but Garcia doesn’t get that. She also apparently doesn’t understand that by offering $2,000 for any gun, no questions asked, she’d actually be driving up the demand for stolen firearms and guns obtained on the black market. If someone can buy a gun on the street for $900 and then turn around and hand it over to the NYPD for $2,000, what do you think is going to happen? I have no doubt that if the city were offering that kind of money they’d get more guns in their “buyback,” but it’s still not going to lead to a drop in crime. In fact, I’d argue it’s likely to lead to more gun thefts outside of New York City.

If any of these Democrats were serious about reducing violent crime, the first step is ensuring that responsible citizens can legally exercise their right to keep and bear arms, allowing the police to focus on violent offenders. Instead, each and every one of these candidates seems intent on preventing the average resident from exercising their Second Amendment rights. You can’t ban or arrest your way to safety, but the odds are that’s the strategy that the next mayor of New York City will pursue.

Dec 04, 2021 11:30 AM ET