A couple of months ago, Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren’s husband was arrested on gun and drug charges, but the mayor herself had repeatedly denied any involvement or awareness of her spouse’s alleged lawbreaking. Despite those pleas of ignorance, a grand jury has now returned several indictments against the mayor herself. Warren’s facing a felony charge of criminal possession of a firearm, as well as two counts of endangering the welfare of a child and failure to lock/secure firearms in a dwelling.
This is now the second felony charge for Warren, who was also indicted on campaign finance fraud last year, but this most recent arrest poses a much bigger problem for Democrats in New York than Warren’s alleged campaign-related crime. Politicians have their standard stock answer when one of their colleagues is accused of breaking election law; usually something like “these are troubling accusations, but I’ll reserve judgement until a jury has reached a verdict.”
I don’t think that’s going to fly here. Not only are we talking about a gun control champion getting busted for illegally possessing a firearm, but Warren’s arrest highlights the fact that under New York law, mere possession of an unlicensed handgun is supposed to result in prison time upon conviction. While establishment New York Democrats like Andrew Cuomo, Attorney General Letitia James, and NYC Democratic mayoral candidate Eric Adams are all now talking about the need to get tough on criminals, far-Left activists in the state are still demanding a “reimagining” of the criminal justice system itself. Warren’s charges highlight the split on among Democrats, and thanks to her relatively high profile in state politics, it makes it tough for New York pols to ignore her arrest.
It wasn’t long ago, after all, that Warren was teaming up with New York Attorney General Letitia James for a “gun buyback” in Rochester.
“Getting guns off our streets must be a priority,” Mayor Warren said in a statement. “That’s why I’m glad our police department is partnering with the Attorney General’s Office and our churches to host a gun buy-back event next week. I know Chief Herriott-Sullivan and her team are working with their partners in law enforcement to stop the flow of illegal guns into our city. We must continue working together with our citizens to take these guns off our streets so our residents can feel safe in their neighborhoods and live the lives they deserve.”
Leave aside for a moment the delicious irony of an anti-gun mayor talking about taking guns “off the street” when she’s accused of illegally having at least one in her home. What does the New York AG think about Mayor Warren’s arrest? Does the Attorney General believe that, if Warren’s convicted of having an unlicensed gun in her home, a sentence of more than three years in prison is truly appropriate? The mayor’s not accused at this point of having anything to do with the drug ring her estranged husband was allegedly involved with; just the “crime” of keeping a gun in her house without registering it with the local government.
Warren claims the guns weren’t hers, and that she didn’t know they were in the home. If that’s the case, does James believe the charges are unwarranted, or should the charges stand because Warren should have been aware of her husband’s alleged activities?
I don’t see how Letitia James can decry Warren’s arrest or the possible punishment she faces if convicted, but I’m sure the AG is hoping that the press corps in Albany simply won’t ask too many tough questions about Warren’s legal fight and New York gun control laws. If reporters do their jobs, however, both the AG and the governor should be pressed to explain if and why they believe that Lovely Warren should spend the next few years in prison for the non-violent, possessory offense of having an unlicensed firearm in her home.