Head of NYC bodega group tells members to get their carry licenses, but that's easier said than done

Head of NYC bodega group tells members to get their carry licenses, but that's easier said than done

Easier said than done, despite the Supreme Court’s clear instructions to the state of New York regarding its “may issue” carry laws. Both city and state are still doing everything they can to block law-abiding citizens from exercising their Second Amendment rights, even as violent and major crimes continue to rise in both New York City and cities like Rochester.

Fernando Mateo, co-founder of United Bodegas of America, probably isn’t aware of just how badly the powers that be want to prevent him and others from obtaining a carry license, but if he’s serious about encouraging bodega owners and employees to apply for one, he’s about to find out just how much contempt Gov. Kathy Hochul, Mayor Eric Adams, and the Democratic power structure in the state have for those who want to carry a gun in self-defense.

“We want to make sure every bodega owner in New York City that is law-abiding, that feels the necessity to carry a licensed gun, to go and apply for it. Why? Because you need to be able to defend yourself,” Fernando Mateo, co-founder of United Bodegas of America, said at a press conference outside the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office.

“For those that believe that criminals should roam our streets and do whatever they want to do whenever they want to do it, your time has come,” he cautioned.

Mateo and another organizer had just finished talking with Manhattan D.A. Alvin Bragg about the case of bodega worker Jose Alba, a 61-year old man who Bragg has charged with murder. Alba stabbed 35-year old Austin Simon after Simon went behind the counter in the bodega where Alba was working and assaulted him, allegedly over the price of a bag of potato chips.

Surveillance video captures the moment a Manhattan bodega worker allegedly stabbed a customer to death after the enraged man came around the counter and attacked him over a bag of chips.

The worker is first seen on the shocking video tending to customers from behind the counter at the Hamilton Heights Grocery store on Broadway — when he is suddenly confronted by a younger man.

The customer appears to yell at the store clerk, before shoving him into a shelf, the clip shows.

After several moments, the worker reaches to the right, toward shelves displaying candy.

He pulls out a large knife and plunges it into the younger man’s neck and chest — which quickly becomes covered in blood, the footage shows.

… The deadly beef reportedly started around 11 p.m. Friday when a woman entered the store with a child at Broadway and 139th Street to buy a bag of chips, according to police.

But police said the unidentified woman didn’t have enough cash for the snack and instead stormed out of the store — and summoned Simon.

That’s when Simon charged into the store, went behind the counter and confronted the store clerk, identified as Jose Alba, [61], leading to the deadly stabbing.

Police responding to reports of an assault at the bodega arrested Alba and charged him with murder and criminal possession of a weapon.

Alba was also stabbed three times by the woman who brought Simon to the store, but police and prosecutors haven’t charged her with any crime, saying that she was acting in defense of Simon.

“The DA’s office looked at the tape, and they felt she was defending her boyfriend,” a cop with knowledge of the situation told The Post. “They didn’t feel charges were necessary.”

But defense lawyer and former Bronx prosecutor Michael Discioarro said he’s in the Alba camp on this one.

“I have no idea why she’s not charged,” Discioarro said. “Her boyfriend was the aggressor. She does not get to protect the aggressor.

“We’re getting a good look at how the system works for the average person,” he said. “Imagine if there was no video. Jose Alba would never be released from Rikers, and [the girlfriend] would testify against him, likely perjuring herself.”

For Mateo and other bodega workers, the issue isn’t just whether or not Alba was acting in self-defense (which, in my opinion, he was), but whether they can protect themselves if the need arrives, particularly with major crimes up 31% in June compared to last year.

Mateo told reporters that Bragg didn’t express opposition to “law-abiding business owners like bodega owners” carrying a gun in self-defense, but Bragg’s office has come out with a slightly different version of events.

While the DA acknowledged in the meeting that residents now have a constitutional right to apply for a license after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a New York State law restricting who could obtain permits – he did not endorse this approach, spokesman Doug Cohen said in a statement.

“DA Bragg expressed support for New York’s strong gun laws, and emphasized that more guns in our communities make us less safe,” the statement reads.

Honestly, Mateo is wasting his time talking  to Alvin Bragg. If he really wants bodega owners and employees to lawfully be armed on the job hee should be reaching out to the New York State Rifle & Pistol Association, Second Amendment Foundation, Gun Owners of America, Firearms Policy Coalition, the NRA, or another Second Amendment group about becoming a part of a challenge to New York City’s unconstitutional carry restrictions. Bragg is a terrible D.A., but while he may be exacerbating the city’s crime problem thanks to his policies, he’s not the biggest impediment to lawfully carrying a gun. The city’s licensing regime itself needs to be completely redone to align with the Constitution, and a group of bodega store workers would make a pretty compelling group of plaintiffs seeking court intervention to access their civil rights.