NYC Mayor Eric Adams blames the gun industry’s aggressive marketing for fueling violence in America


New York City Mayor Eric Adams on Tuesday said combating rampant gun violence will be the “defining mission” of his term and pleaded with the media to scrutinize firearm makers’ roles in tragic shootings.

He said gunmakers should be subjected to the same pressures put on the tobacco and opioid industries for fueling addiction.

“My most defining mission as the mayor of the city of New York — the largest city in America — is to focus on ending gun violence, to stop the scourge of illegal guns,” Mr. Adams said at the National Press Club in Washington.

Gun violence, he said, “rips apart the anatomy of our city.”

The Democratic mayor took office at the start of the year vowing to restore the Big Apple’s swagger and kickstart its economy after a bruising pandemic. Getting there has been a challenge, with gun violence dominating the headlines and some visitors staying away because they fear high crime.

Mr. Adams spoke at the press club as part of a Washington visit to meet Capitol Hill lawmakers.

He said New York is not alone in suffering from gun violence, ticking off a list of cities such as Chicago and Atlanta that are reeling from the same crisis.

“We’ve normalized violence in our city, normalized the numbers of deaths,” Mr. Adams said. “And it’s happening all over this country.”

Murders are down in New York City compared to this time last year but other major crime categories are up, including a nearly 40% spike in robbery, according to N.Y. Police Department statistics.

Mr. Adams said improving public safety begins with preserving the quality of life in the city. He said he cannot allow people to walk into stores and take what they want, jump subway turn-styles or ride unlawful dirt bikes around the city.

“You can’t have a city where anything and everything goes,” Mr. Adams said.

Still, Mr. Adams took specific aim at the firearm industry and its profit-seeking behavior for contributing to the city’s problems. He said gun manufacturers use aggressive marketing to put guns in as many hands as possible, leading to increased hate crimes, deadlier domestic incidents, school shootings and suicides.

“This is a business that will stop at nothing,” he said.

Mr. Adams wants to take on the gun industry the same way society took on the tobacco and opioid industries. He said authorities should name the gun used in a crime so people know the company that made it. He also wants to “follow the money” to understand how the perpetrators of gun crimes obtained their weapons and who profited from it.

The mayor rattled off the names of gunmaker CEOs and tragic incidents in which their products were used.

He also said the public should understand that, in addition to human suffering, gun violence costs millions in taxpayer money through police and other services.

Mr. Adams recently put up signs in Manhattan’s Times Square advertising it as a “sensitive location” where people cannot carry guns. He is trying to manage the fallout from a Supreme Court decision that said blue states went too far in restricting concealed carry of firearms but could label some zones as off-limits.

Republicans and others say the focus on gun owners is misplaced and that lax Democratic bail policies have made it easier for criminals to get back on the street and cause havoc.

Rep. Lee Zeldin, a Republican running for New York governor, highlighted the lax rules after a man who threatened him with a knife at a campaign event was released soon after his arrest on his state charges, only to be rearrested on federal charges later.

Mr. Adams said 90% of offenders benefit from the overhauled bail system but the law could use some changes.

“We have continuously showed how the parts of the bail reform law must be modified for the small number of repeat offenders,” Mr. Adams said at the press club.

Also Tuesday, Mr. Adams said U.S. locales must share the burden of absorbing migrants who skip over the border but he faulted Texas Gov. Greg Abbott for busing migrants to his city without a firm plan.

“He did not pick up the phone, he did not coordinate,”  Mr. Adams said.


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