Transit Boss's Solution to Shootings in 'Gun-Free Zones'? More Gun Control.

AP Photo/William Mathis

New York already has some of the most restrictive gun laws in the country. You have be licensed and permitted to own a firearm, every sale of firearms and ammunition is supposed to go through a background check, and as we're all aware by now, you can't lawfully carry a concealed firearm in a wide variety of publicly accessible places, including pubic transportation. 


So what exactly does Metropolitan Transportation Authority Chair and Chief Executive Officer Janno Lieber have in mind when he says that crime on New York City's subway system should be addressed through more gun control?

Lieber said he now believes there needs to be a stronger push for public officials to prioritize “getting guns out of people’s hands” to prevent further incidents such as this.

He also encouraged New Yorkers to avoid involvement in dangerous situations in public spaces throughout the city.

“The emphasis on de-escalation, that is a New York thing. There are people who are willing to say, ‘Let's calm down, let's get it under control.’ And there were people on the train who did that, but once a gun is produced, the whole situation changes,” he said. “And we got to keep fighting back against this scourge of guns.”

Not "getting guns out of the hands of violent criminals". Not "getting guns out of the hands of the dangerously mentally ill". Nope. Just a blanket statement about taking guns from "people," which presumably includes lawful gun owners. 

While Lieber is focused on the "scourge" of guns, the issue for New Yorkers riding the subway system is public safety in general. As New York Times columnist Ginia Bellafante points out, "more bag checks will not calm the nerves of New Yorkers worried about being shoved onto the tracks by someone with mental illness." 


There've been stabbings, slashings, shootings, and beatings in the city's subway station in recent weeks, as well as people being pushed onto subway tracks. Lieber isn't dealing with a "gun" problem. He's got a violence problem on his hands, and its not going to be cured through the addition of more unconstitutional gun laws. 

Take the most recent incident involving someone being shoved into the path of an oncoming train. Authorities say the man who pushed his girlfriend just a few days ago, resulting in both of her feet being amputated by an arriving train, had been released from prison after serving less than half of his sentence for a violent encounter in which he broke into a woman's apartment and stabbed her before trying to throw her 3-year-old daughter off a fire escape. 

Valdez was convicted in 2020 of second-degree attempted assault stemming from the Bronx attack and sentenced to eight years in prison, according to court records reviewed by ABC News. Valdez was released from the Sing Sing Correctional Facility in Ossining, New York, on Jan. 9, 2023, according to records. He was on parole at the time of Saturday's attack.


Lieber isn't in a position to fix the problems with New York's criminal justice system, but he should at least be able to recognize the actual crisis that the transit system is facing. The fact that he's pointing his finger at "guns" instead of the human beings who are committing these violent acts tells me that he's more interested in parroting the Democratic party line than protecting NYC subway riders... or better yet, allowing them to protect themselves. 

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