Adams says he's not armed on the job

AP Photo/Frank Franklin II

The big question isn’t “Is Eric Adams packing heat in City Hall”, it’s “how many New Yorkers are going to apply for a ‘shall-issue’ carry license if/when SCOTUS strikes down the state’s current carry laws?” In fact, that might be weighing on Adams’ mind already, given the New York City crime rates and Adams’ pledge to reduce the number of shootings on city streets.

Still, Adams did previously say that he would carry a firearm on the job, and on Friday one reporter in New York City decided to ask Adams if he was following through. The mayor responded by “clarifying” his previous comments.

Asked Friday during a Q&A after a traffic safety event if he was armed, Adams stepped from behind the podium, opened up his jacket to show no holster or weapon and spun all the way around to show he didn’t have one on his waist.

He also lifted up his pant legs to show there wasn’t a weapon by his ankles — then sought to clarify the statement he had made in January 2020.

“I said if I received a threat from my intel that states that there’s a real threat, that I would make that determination,” Adams said. “If I feel the need to do something, I would do something. I don’t feel the need to do something right now.”

He also said he hasn’t carried a gun at all since he’s been in office.

That’s actually quite the walkback from what he said as a candidate in January 2020.

Podcast host: As mayor would you carry a firearm on you even with a security detail?

Eric Adams: Yes I will, number one, and number two, I won’t have a security detail. If the city’s safe, the mayor shouldn’t have a security detail with him. He should be walking the street by himself.

Adams went on to call out the hypocrisy of citywide officials who say places of worship don’t need armed security.

He implies that if they could travel with armed security then houses of worship should be defended too.

At the time Adams directly stated that he carries a gun with him when he attends church, and encouraged other current and former law enforcement officials (though not the general public, of course) to do the same.
What accounts for Adams’ apparent change of heart? It can’t be that New York has become a safer place, because crime has only increased over the past couple of years. I suspect that Adams may not want to tout the idea of anyone carrying a firearm in self-defense (even a former cop like himself) given that the Supreme Court is likely to strike down the state’s “may issue” concealed carry permitting laws in the coming months and mandate that average, everyday citizens be able to exercise their right to bear arms in self-defense.

I’m sure that’s the last thing Adams wants right now, given that his current focus is on cracking down on individuals carrying a gun without a license. In fact, on Sunday night Adams shared surveillance footage of a young mother being robbed at gunpoint in the vestibule of her apartment building to highlight the work being done by his new anti-gun unit within the NYPD.

According to the NYPD, one of the two men seen in the robbery, which took place on March 9th, was arrested several days later. 23-year old Carlos Guzman has eleven prior arrests to his name, according to authorities, which demonstrates (to me, anyway) the fundamental flaw in Adams’ gun control-centric approach to fighting crime. You can take as many illegally-possessed guns out of circulation as you can find, but if you’re not actually addressing the individuals who are using them in the commission of violent offenses, then it really doesn’t matter. And given that the vast majority of people busted in New York for carrying a gun without a license don’t have any serious criminal history, it makes even less sense to focus simply on gun possession and not on violent crime specifically.

That would explain, however, why Adams is now so reluctant to carry a gun himself when he was committed to doing so as a mayoral candidate. He probably doesn’t want to give anyone the “wrong” idea about exercising their Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms; not only now, when the average New Yorker has no real way of doing so legally, or in the near future if the Supreme Court does do the right thing and ends New York’s arbitrary and discriminatory gun permitting scheme. That would open the door for law-abiding New Yorkers to carry a gun of their own in self-defense if they so choose, and my guess is Adams wants to do everything he can to discourage residents from doing so.