City officials in New York and Seattle might learn something from a retired New York police inspector whose remark to the New York Times the other day sums up a reality that appears to have escaped Mayors Eric Adams and Bruce Harrell.
Retired cop Tom Harris, now president of the Times Square Alliance, observed, “A gun-free zone is not going to stop a criminal from carrying a gun.”
Indeed, gun laws in general do not prevent criminals from being armed. Last Thursday, the Times reported, despite the designation of Times Square as a “sensitive location” where guns are not allowed, a 22-year-old man was fatally shot.
Go west 3,000 miles to Seattle, which passed a gun violence tax on the sale of firearms and ammunition in July 2015—when Harrell was on the city council—on the shaky contention the tax would generate big bucks to finance anti-violence projects. Since 2016, the first year the tax was in effect, the number of murders has climbed. In 2016, Seattle posted 19 murders. Last year, the body count was 52.
Seattle police released the 2022 crime report. According to KOMO News, the local ABC affiliate, “There were 739 shootings and shots fired incidents in the city in 2022, which is a 19% increase from 2021, according to SPD data. There was also total of 52 homicides in the city in 2022, which was the second-highest total (in recent memory).” In 2020, there were 53 murders.
New York saw a 22 percent increase in robbery, burglary and other crimes last year, according to the New York Times. However, homicides dropped to 411 last year, down approximately 11 percent from 2021, the newspaper said.
Predictably, Adams in the east and Harrell in the west are doubling down in their efforts to penalize law-abiding citizens for crimes neither man’s policies have prevented.
In New York, Adams told reporters in the aftermath of Thursday’s killing, “But this shooting underscores the need to ensure Times Square remains a sensitive location.”
In Seattle, KOMO is quoting a statement issued by Harrell’s office as police data is released: “Mayor Harrell remains concerned about the increase in gun violence and has long advocated for repealing state preemption on local gun regulations. This legislative session, he submitted a bill in partnership with Senator Joe Nguyen to remove statewide firearm preemption and allow cities the freedom to set their own commonsense gun safety laws.”
Nguyen’s Senate Bill 5446 hasn’t moved in Olympia, and its House companion, HB 1178, also appears stalled in the House Committee on Civil Rights & Judiciary. Washington’s preemption law is almost 40 years old and it has provided uniformity in state gun laws in a state with an estimated 1.5-2 million gun owners and nearly 700,000 active concealed pistol licenses.
It’s not as if they city officials in both municipalities hadn’t been warned. Back in May 2022, weeks before the Supreme Court’s landmark Bruen ruling striking down New York’s unconstitutional concealed carry permit scheme, the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms blistered former Mayor Bill di Blasio and Adams.
“The crime situation in New York City is out of control,” said CCRKBA Chairman Alan Gottlieb. “Part of the blame goes to former Mayor Bill di Blasio, and part of it to new Mayor Eric Adams, but the real problem has been festering for generations, ever since the Big Apple erected big obstacles to the exercise of the Second Amendment right to both keep and bear arms.
“Nothing worries criminals more than legally-armed citizens, otherwise known as ‘would-be victims’,” he observed at the time. “If city officials from the mayor on down weren’t so determined to keep law-abiding citizens disarmed, instead of preying on the public, criminals would be praying they don’t get shot by an intended victim.”
Last November, following a fatal shooting at a Seattle high school in which one student was murdered, Gottlieb issued a statement: “Seattle is headquarters to a billionaire-supported gun prohibition lobbying group whose initiatives were passed on promises of reduced gun-related crime. Those restrictive laws have…miserably failed. The number of murders in Seattle and the entire state have gone up, not down, and the gun control crowd refuses to admit their strategies have accomplished nothing, while providing false hopes to the public.
“Keep in mind,” he continued, “the suspect in the Ingraham High School shooting could not legally carry a gun. He violated existing state and federal laws by bringing a gun into the school. He fatally shot someone. How many laws does someone have to violate before Harrell (and other officials) figure out that the problem isn’t guns, it’s people who commit crimes, and it is leadership that defunds law enforcement, pursues soft-on-crime social policies and then tries to shift the blame to guns because they can’t, or won’t, punish the perpetrators?”
While Adams and Harrell contend their fealty to gun control efforts is the right course, Gottlieb has called gun-free zones “feel-good fakery.” Only the year-end homicide statistics may tell who is right.
About Dave Workman