Has Mayor Bill de Blasio been too weak on gun control? Tons of New Yorkers think so!
A 5-year old Brooklyn girl was grazed by a gunshot on Monday and a Kansas tourist was wounded by a stray bullet walking near NYC’s Times Square. The mayor, however, insisted that New Yorkers are unrattled.
The statement unnerved residents, especially after 34 of their neighbors were the targets of fatal bullets last month alone.
Responding to the incidents, de Blasio declared that he “does not believe New Yorkers are living in fear.” Instead, he said “it’s just not who we are. I believe there are some real issues we have to address… But New Yorkers don’t live in fear. They keep moving forward.”
Many, however, are not walking the dangerous streets with confidence. According to the New York Daily News, Marlene Alam, 67, of Flatbush, expressed her feelings about the mayor’s declaration.
“That’s bull—,” she said, speaking about de Blasio’s response to the increase in gun violence. “I got attacked on a train twice… People are walking around here with mental illnesses.”
“They’re on goddamn crack. They’re beating up senior citizens. It’s crazy.”
Marlene’s sentiments and community backlash over de Blasio’s response follow a rise in gun violence on New York streets. As of August of last year, there were 896 shooting incidents citywide, an 82.1 percent increase from 2019’s 492 shootings by the same time. By 2021, that figure has only gotten worse.
NYPD’s latest crime states showed that overall crime was up in March by 2.4 percent compared to March 2020. There was a 36 percent increase in murders last month as well, with 34 compared to only 25 in March 2020.
When gun violence surged last year, Mayor de Blasio’s plan was light on details and results, some New Yorkers claim. A year later the politician is reigniting criticisms. The mayor’s comments came during a press conference held on Wednesday, where he was blasted by a reporter who asked him why he wasn’t visiting the affected communities to spread a stark anti-violence sentiment.
The mayor snapped back, saying “it clearly won’t be tolerated because for years now we have been changing the whole reality of how we address crime and violence.”
“We had a horrible disruption last year- the perfect storm of COVID” he continued. “But the NYPD is out there doing great work, more gun arrests than we’ve had in a quarter-century. So of course we condemn all violence, but the best way to address violence is by getting guns off the streets, which the NYPD is doing by working with communities more closely.”
The President has used stronger language on gun control this week. Sparked by a recent mass shooting in Rock Hill, South Carolina, President Joe Biden took steps to address the “epidemic,” as he called it. To the President, much more needs to be done.
The New York Times posted an update Thursday, explaining Biden’s plan.
The President is pressing Congress to take more aggressive action, closing background check loopholes, banning assault weapons, and stripping gun manufacturers of protection from lawsuits. But, Biden believes, “this is just a start. We have a lot of work to do.”