NY Governor Calls Out National Guard in Bid to Reduce Crime in 'Gun-Free Zone'

AP Photo/John Minchillo

Is New York Gov. Kathy Hochul's decision to deploy some 750 National Guard members to the NYC subway system a political stunt? Yes, but its also a tacit admission that turning the city's public transit network into a giant "gun-free zone" has failed to keep the public safe. 


Those National Guard members, along with hundreds of NYC transit police, will be conducting "bag checks" of transit riders; a practice NY Post columnist Bob McManus compares to the stop-and-frisk tactics embraced by billionaire gun control activist Michael Bloomberg when he was mayor of New York City. While riders will soon have both their Second and Fourth Amendment rights violated when they set foot into a subway station, one of the top transit cops is all but admitting this is nothing more than security theater.

The effort, Hochul said, is intended to "rid our subways of people who commit crimes and [to] protect all New Yorkers whether you're a commuter or a transit worker."

"No one heading to their job or to visit family or go to a doctor appointment should worry that the person sitting next to them possesses a deadly weapon," she told reporters.

Thomas Taffe, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority Police Department’s chief of operations, said "reducing the fear of crime" is as important as "reducing crime itself." 

"Our focus is to respond to issues that most affected riders, the feeling of disorder, that fear of crime," he said. 

I know a great way to help people become less afraid of being the victim of a violent crime. Stop blocking them from exercising their right to armed self-defense. 

For decades New York City's public transit system had no prohibitions on the lawful carrying of concealed firearms, but almost as soon as the Supreme Court handed down its decision in Bruen and opened the door for average New Yorkers to finally get approved for a carry license without having to demonstrate "good cause" for carrying, the city and state responded by declaring large swathes of the state were now off-limits to legal gun owners. 


Actual enforcement of those laws has been spotty at best. When a teenaged migrant was arrested on charges of shooting a tourist in Times Square a few months ago, for instance, police never bothered to charge him with carrying in a "gun-free zone". 

Still, many New Yorkers with a carry permit aren't going to risk a potential felony case if they're caught merely possessing a firearm in a supposedly sensitive place. The law has emboldened armed criminals even while it eviscerated our right to carry a firearm in self-defense, and now Hochul is overreacting by bringing in the National Guard. McManus says that rather than soothe the concerns of straphangers, the governor's move shows just how panicked she is about how public safety concerns will lead to a disastrous Election Day for Democrats come November.

Or maybe not panic; maybe impotence is the word.

Having lost the will to protect life, limb and personal property by traditional means — that is, by enforcing the penal and criminal-procedure codes — New York now takes tentative steps toward overtly militarized policing.

This is not the same thing as local police departments adopting military-style gear and tactics; that’s a regrettable, but not unreasonable, response to real-world dangers.

This is uniformed military personnel engaged in law enforcement.

Now, Hochul may not understand the issue because she doesn’t seem to understand much, but Americans have seen military involvement in domestic policing as a threat to civil liberties at least since the post-Civil War Reconstruction period — and they take great care to avoid it.

To be sure, there’s a difference between the Regular Army and the National Guard, and troops often are deployed for natural disasters and in response to events like 9/11. 

But there is no emergency. A crisis, yes, but no emergency.

What Hochul has done here is, again, a political stunt — undertaken to divert attention from her unwillingness to confront the core problem: the hammerlock crime-tolerant progressivism has on public policy in New York.


Tolerant of crime, intolerant of the lawful exercise of our Second Amendment rights. That's sadly become the norm in New York City, and Hochul's decision to bring in the National Guard shows how well that strategy is working out for the anti-gun politicians in the city and state. 

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