Anti-Gun Mayor Avoids Felony Gun Charge, Prison Thanks To Plea Deal

AP Photo/Adrian Kraus, File

Rochester, New York Mayor Lovely Warren will not be going to trial on charges of illegal possession of a weapon after all, despite the fact that police discovered unregistered firearms in her home and a grand jury indicted both her and her husband on felony weapons and child endangerment charges back in July.

Warren, who’s repeatedly demanded more gun control laws during her time in office, palled around with Moms Demand Action’ Shannon Watts, and praised the New York SAFE Act, won’t be subject to the act’s mandatory prison sentence for illegally possessing a firearm thanks to a sweetheart plea deal cut with local prosecutors.

Lovely Warren, the embattled Democratic mayor of Rochester, N.Y., agreed to resign on Monday as part of a plea deal on several state criminal charges, capping a swift and staggering fall for a politician once considered a rising star in the state Democratic Party.

The plea deal, in Monroe County court, resolves two separate state cases against Ms. Warren: one arising from campaign finance violations and another that included gun and child-endangerment charges that Ms. Warren and her estranged husband faced.

Ms. Warren’s resignation is effective Dec. 1, just a month before she would have left office, having lost a June primary for a third term to Malik Evans, a city councilman.

Yep, you read that correctly. Despite multiple felony charges, the only consequences for her actions is having to leave office four weeks earlier than she intended.

Calli Marianetti, a spokeswoman for Sandra Doorley, the Monroe County district attorney, said that as part of a plea deal with Ms. Warren, the gun and child endangerment charges would no longer be pursued.

In a statement, Ms. Doorley said that the resolution of the charges facing Ms. Warren — and those facing two fellow defendants, her campaign treasurer and Rochester’s finance director — was “fair and just based on the nature of their crimes.”

“This is an important step in our larger efforts in promoting ethical elections in our state,” said Ms. Doorley, a Republican.

Is it really? Because from where I’m sitting, this looks more like an anti-gun politician getting away with breaking the state’s gun control laws with no consequences other than having to clean out her office a few weeks earlier than she’d planned.

Look, if the Monroe County D.A. wants to establish a formal policy that states her office will not prosecute felony gun possession cases absent a crime of violence, I’d be okay with that. But that’s not what’s happening here. If you’re not politically connected or powerful, the odds are that if you get caught with an unregistered firearm in Rochester, you’re going to be facing prison time. If you’re the mayor, on the other hand, you get a slap on the wrist and a kiss on the cheek and told not to do it again.

Laws are supposed to apply equally to all, but clearly that’s not the case when it comes to gun control and anti-gun politicians in New York. Many gun owners in the state have been railing against the SAFE Act since disgraced governor Andrew Cuomo (another New York politician who managed to avoid legal consequences for his misdeeds) signed the package of anti-gun legislation into law back in 2013, and I know they’d be happy to see the law repealed in its entirety. But as long as the law is on the books it should be enforced equally, and it appears that the powers that be have decided that the SAFE Act simply doesn’t apply to those with the proper political pedigree.

I can’t say I’m shocked by this turn of events, but I am appalled. Public officials shouldn’t get a pass when it comes to New York’s gun control laws, but thanks to Warren’s plea deal it’s now crystal clear that there are two tiers of “justice”; one for the powerful and connected, and one for everyone else.

Nov 26, 2021 10:30 AM ET