Violence in New York: Adams’ Fight Against Guns

Status: 01/29/2022 03:34 a.m

The New York police confiscated 6,000 illegal weapons in 2021. Too many, says New York’s new mayor Adams. The ex-cop has declared war on gun violence, but is reaching its limits.

By Antje Passenheim, ARD Studio New York

Mayor Eric Adams has taken a stand against gun violence on New York’s streets with promises such as:

We will not surrender our city to the violent few. We’ll be back – but not to the bad old days. We’ll pull the trigger people off the streets and take away their guns.

Antje Passenheim
ARD-Studio New York

A good three weeks later, reality catches up with the ex-cop’s promise. When Adams learns that a 22-year-old police officer on duty in Harlem was shot dead and his colleague seriously injured, he was just returning from a Bronx vigil for an 11-month-old toddler who was shot in the head by a stray bullet would.

For Adams, gun violence is sad everyday life: “I met the mother of a 19-year-old who was killed coming off the night shift in east Harlem,” he says. “I was sitting at the bedside of a police officer who was shot by a 16-year-old. I saw the headless little girl’s bloodied pink jacket on the street.”

“Arms dealers provide supplies”

Gangs account for most of the shooting. They have been very popular since the corona pandemic. Prisons have flushed many inmates onto the streets and left them there to fend for themselves. Thousands of jobs are gone. “Our cops are confiscating record amounts from the streets every day,” reports Adams. Since he took office on January 1 alone, there have been 350 weapons in illegal possession, last year more than 6,000 – “but the arms dealers are providing supplies”.

Appeal to government in Washington

New York’s gun laws are among the strictest in the country. Yet many pistols and rifles easily come in via neighboring states. “There are no gun manufacturers in New York. And if the police confiscated 6,000 guns last year, we know that new ones come into the city every day by car, bus or train,” criticizes Adams.

He holds the US government in Washington responsible. At the federal level, there was a failure to stop the flow of firearms into his city. President Joe Biden promised him cooperation.

We must cooperate between cities, states and state agencies. Just as we did after 9/11 to fight terrorism, we must do this with the crimes on our streets.

Money for people who donate guns

New York was the first US state to declare a gun violence emergency last summer. In this way, money can be made available for the defense: the equivalent of 118 million euros. The largest part should flow into new jobs, the other in community work.

For years, the New York City Police Department has offered programs where owners can sell their guns for money. Now, under Adams, the New York City Police Department has reinstated a civilian unit tasked with taking guns off the streets. In the 1990s, he himself fought as a police officer against the then escalating violence in the “Big Apple”. Statistically, New York is the safest city in the United States, emphasizes Adams – but his government will not be satisfied with that.

Nor is it enough to pray, says Adams. His strategy includes better schools and job offers for young people in the poorer parts of the city that he knows well. The Democrat also advocates a return of the highly controversial “stop and frisk” tactic. Until 2013, New York cops were allowed to stop anyone on the street to search them at random for weapons or drugs. A US federal court ruled the practice unconstitutional.

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