Eric Adams, Times Square, and the false promise of "gun-free zones"

AP Photo/Mary Altaffer

New York City Mayor Eric Adams held a public signing ceremony in midtown Manhattan on Tuesday to formally designate an area in and around Times Square as a “gun-free zone” off limits to lawful concealed carry holders, despite the fact that the state law designating Times Square as a “sensitive place” where guns must be banned has been panned by a federal judge who granted a temporary restraining order against enforcement of most of the measure. U.S. District Judge Glenn Suddaby did allow the state to appeal his decision; a step that New York Attorney General Letitia James took on Monday, and for now the law remains in effect in New York City and across the state.

Even with the law operational, I’m not sure why anyone would think that it’s going to have some sort of impact on the behavior of violent criminals. Still, Adams was adamant on Tuesday that the new designation as a “gun-free zone” will make Times Square a safer place.

Adams said the 56 million tourists predicted to visit New York City this year should not have to “live in fear” as they walk through Times Sqaure, often deemed the “crossroads of the world.”

“We will not allow them to live in fear or distrust that someone is walking around with a gun ready to harm them.”

Adams, who owns three guns, said the designation of Times Square as a sensitive location was not intended to punish lawful gun owners. Rather, he and other city leaders said it is untenable to have so many guns in a place as densely packed as Times Square.

“It is plain good old common sense that no one should have a gun in Times Square,” said Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, who joined the mayor for the bill signing.

The law defines the boundaries of the Times Square sensitive location and authorizes the NYPD to implement it.

I have no current plans to visit New York City, but if I did I’d feel a lot safer if I had my firearm with me, because I know that a sign that says “no guns allowed” doesn’t actually stop anyone with criminal intentions from carrying one. Is there anyone in New York who’s breathing a sigh of relief that Times Square is now officially off-limits to guns? Actually, now that I think about it I’m sure that there are plenty of New Yorkers who’ve been reassured by the mayor’s actions, though I think they’re deluding themselves if they honestly believe that someone with evil intentions will turn and walk away once they’re confronted by a sign warning them that they can’t bring a gun into Times Square.

I also love the fact that the local ABC affiliate in New York pointed out that Adams owns three guns. So what? Just as there are plenty of climate change activists who fly on private jets and have enormous carbon footprints, there are lots of folks in favor of all kinds of gun control laws who might own guns themselves.

Adams also said that he’d ditch his NYPD security detail and carry his own firearm if he was elected, a campaign promise that he conveniently ignored when he was in a position to actually follow through, probably because it would look awful for him to bemoan the right of average New Yorkers to carry while he’s doing so himself. He’s still walking around with his personal Praetorian Guard, but the average New Yorker is committing a felony punishable by years in prison if they so much as stroll through Times Square or Central Park with a gun on them, regardless of whether or not they have a valid concealed carry permit.

Here’s a challenge for Eric Adams: if he really believes that a “gun-free zone” is enough to keep people safe, why doesn’t he go hang out in Times Square for 24 hours without his NYPD detail? Just go be among the people. Experience the city as the average New Yorker or tourist does. And if he’s really brave, he could always walk away from the bright lights of Times Square and walk defenseless through some of the city’s high crime neighborhoods, just like he and his anti-gun allies like Gov. Kathy Hochul force their fellow New Yorkers to do each and every day… all while they’re watched over by a squad of armed defenders. Adams and Hochul are rarely more than a few feet away from men and women with guns whose primary responsibility is to protect their lives, and that tells me everything I need to know about how effective they think gun-free zones really are.