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Queens Legislators Split on Mayor Adams’ Plan to Combat Gun Violence

Mayor Eric Adams unveiled a plan to combat gun violence in the city during a press conference at City Hall Monday (Michael Appleton/ Mayoral Photography Office)

Jan. 25, 2022 By Allie Griffin

Queens lawmakers are split on the mayor’s recently released plan to combat gun violence — with some applauding it while others denounce it.

The 15-page plan titled “The Blueprint to End Gun Violence” was unveiled by Mayor Eric Adams Monday following a number of high-profile shootings this month, including the fatal shooting of two young NYPD officers Friday night.

The plan includes both immediate intervention actions to get guns off the street and long-term initiatives to address underlying issues that lead to gun violence.

Many Queens legislators praised the plan for Adams’ support of the city’s community-based violence prevention programs and his pledge to invest in mental health services and youth employment.

At the same time, multiple borough officials criticized his proposal to essentially reinstate the controversial anti-crime unit that was disbanded by the de Blasio administration.

They also took issue with Adams’ desire to revoke some bail reform measures — such as allowing judges to set bail if they deem a defendant to be dangerous — and the proposed utilization of facial recognition technology in investigations.

Another part of the plan that faced pushback was a proposal that would allow prosecutors to charge 16- and 17-year-olds for gun possession in criminal court, rather than in family court. It would make an exception to a 2017 state law that raised the age of criminal responsibility to 18.

Astoria Council Member Tiffany Cabán said the mayor’s plan would move the city backward into a system of punishment and surveillance.

“I strongly oppose reversing common-sense bail reform, removing vital safeguards on the rights of the accused, expanding the use of facial recognition technology, and moving minors accused of gun possession out of family court and into criminal court,” she said in a statement.

Cabán particularly bashed the part of the plan that brings back the NYPD anti-crime unit, made up of plain-clothed officers embedded in specific neighborhoods.

Adams, a former NYPD officer himself, plans to send “neighborhood safety teams” of plain-clothed officers into 30 precincts where 80 percent of the city’s violence occurs in the next three weeks, according to his plan. The teams will specifically focus on recovering illegal guns, but critics say past iterations have only created greater violence.

“Particularly troubling is the Mayor’s proposed revival of the NYPD’s plainclothes unit,” Cabán said. “The fact is, that unit was ineffective at reducing gun violence…”

She argued that the unit actually inflated violence, citing a 2016 NYPD report that found that nearly half of officers involved in “adversarial conflicts” were in the plainclothes unit.

City Council Speaker Adrienne Adams, who represents southeast Queens, said the proposal needs more public input given the history of similar police units.

“Concerns have been raised in communities about the plain clothes unit’s ability to reduce violence, given its past history of initiating undue violence,” Adams said in a statement. “This proposal – along with others to change city and state criminal justice policies – requires further public dialogue and transparency.”

However, the proposal was lauded by some Queens electeds. Council Member James Gennaro, for instance, said he supported the decision to bring back the unit.

‘I applaud @NYCMayor for laying out a comprehensive, common-sense plan to curb gun violence,” Gennaro tweeted. “We need to make public safety our TOP priority! And reinstating the #NYPD’s plainclothes unit will be crucial in making our streets safer.”

Astoria Assembly Member Zohran Mamdani, meanwhile, criticized a part of the mayor’s plan that would change how minors are prosecuted for gun possession.

“My constituents did not send me to Albany to put 16 and 17 year olds in prison or to give judges even more discretion to criminalize poverty,” he tweeted.

Mamdani’s colleague, Assembly Member Jessica González-Rojas, also rejected the plan. She took issue with Adams’ desire to roll back bail reform measures, stating that it would unfairly target communities of color.

“Everyone wants their community to be safe. But that must include safety from a carceral system that disproportionately harms Black, Brown, and poor New Yorkers,” she tweeted alongside a screengrab of the plan’s bail reform proposal. “I’m a no on this, Mayor.”

State Sen. Michael Gianaris, who helped push the bail reform measures through the state legislature in 2019, said revoking the reforms was the wrong decision. He said the city must instead fight the trafficking of guns from other states into New York in order to reduce gun violence.

“We must effectively combat illegal guns coming from other states — not rollback effective reforms to our criminal legal system,” Gianaris wrote on Twitter.

However, Adams’ plan did get the backing of some Queens officials.

Rep. Tom Suozzi, who represents a section of northeast Queens and parts of Long Island, said he supports Adams’ proposed adjustments to the state bail reform law.

“I agree 100 percent with the Mayor,” Suozzi, who is also running for governor, tweeted. “This is exactly what I have been saying since I first laid out my crime plan on January 4th.”

Republican Council Member Joann Ariola, who represents a portion of the Rockaways and southeast Queens, said she’s confident in the plan.

“As a member of the NYCC Public Safety Committee, I believe the measures in @NYCMayor “Blueprint to End Gun Violence” will have both short term and long-term effects on creating a safer NYC for all,” Ariola said on Twitter.

Council Member Robert Holden, a moderate Democrat, also announced his support.

“I support @nycmayor‘s blueprint to end gun violence,” he tweeted. “It’s a comprehensive plan to let cops do their jobs and get guns off the street. It’ll also finally tackle our mental health crisis, encourage judges to use discretion, proactively help people before a crisis arises and more.”

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36 Comments

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Concerned Citizen

Before reading it, I had a good guess who the usual suspects of pushing back on this MUCH NEEDED reform would be. Tiffany Caban does not disappoint. Criminals over law abiding citizens!

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Thema

Adams is a true leader with the intent to help people regardless of color, poor or rich. Shame on the council members whose action led to huge increase of crimes across the nation.

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Jace

This country is a mess still clinging to regressive ideas. A perfect example of why we will never ever have a national health plan, care for the mentally ill, nursing homes that treat the elderly or veterans with humanity or a law enforcement system that actually is fair and just. Go tiffany!!

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Gloria

Tiffany Caban has a bright political future. She refuses to remain silent while other progressive city council leaders are turning a blind eye.

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Hakim

If you are following the general tone of a police union (cops can do no wrong, don’t need body cameras, can take care of discipline internally) or BLM (cops are overseers and laws shouldn’t apply to black people), you’re probably part of the problem.

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David

One can only hope, since the moderate wing of the Republican voters can join with the centrist Democrats to take control of government from the two extremist wings of our current parties.

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Lucky number 7 train

I think there are a lot of people from both sides of the aisle, from many different races and religious backgrounds that can come together to support our mayor on this. Let’s lead the country in fighting this increase in crime that our nation has seen and support the Mayor here.

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Tito

Same old story. They talk about “gun violence” but the guns don’t wake up and decide to shoot someone. Irresponsible and criminal individuals use the guns to commit violent crimes. It is against the law to kill people. Do you think the criminals in NYC or elsewhere care one bit about that?

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Luna

End the grotesque disparity between rich and poor, and crime will decline. When a country which brags about its wealth has citizens living on the streets is obscene and wrong by ay standard. A country that doesn’t care whether its working citizens are paid wages that are above the “poverty line” is a country that generates crime and the violence that goes with it.

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Mike

It is no coincidence that in 2021, we were at one of the lowest numbers of people in prison since the 1990s….and the violent crime rate is also surging close to the 1990s as well.

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Gia

Good start. Enough with listening to an out of touch minority. Broken windows theory is real. When applied it works.

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Michelle

I hope to see an increase in funding toward afterschool programing, community recreational spaces, community programs. I hope we start caring about making food, rent, and healthcare affordable and accessible for these neighborhoods as well. The truth of the matter is that desperation leads to crime and will always lead to crime, with or without police crackdown. Remove the desperation, start caring for the communities and acknowledging the difficult situations these people are forced into and they will stop turning to crime.

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IT STARTS IN THE HOME!!!

Boy are YOU out of touch with reality!!!

Stop making the schools do YOUR job of disciplining and raising your children!!! You want your kids to be kept out of trouble??? YOU keep them out of trouble!!!

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Jason

One of my childhood friends just got out of the military and is about to enter the police force, proud of him but our current culture and state of the country makes me fear for him.

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TJ

My condolences and prayers to our brother’s in blue and the family of those who lost their loved ones.

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Midterms 2022

Vote republican all the way in the midterms and remove the democrats that love criminals and pass such idiotic laws.

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Reggie

Sending a 16 or 17-year old to jail for gun possession is “criminalizing poverty”? Who would’ve thought?

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No socialism in Queens!

not “gun violence” – CRIMINAL VIOLENCE. The guns did not shoot themselves. All these criminals have records.

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Republicans deliberately misread the US Constitution

Amendment II
A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

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Vicky

Tragic shootings of police officers and stray bullets hitting children make for very dramatic headlines that point to guns as a major factor affecting public safety and arguably warrant attention to availability of guns and punishment for gun crimes. Nevertheless, I think New Yorkers would much prefer serious programs to address the problems of mentally ill and addicted people with nowhere to live and nobody to attend to their needs, which would begin to have an impact on everyday safety and quality of life.

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What does easy access to guns have to do with gun violence?

Great point, guns should be really east to get. That has nothing to do with the spike in gun crime though. Silly liberals!

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Truth hurts

“Astoria Council Member Tiffany Cabán said the mayor’s plan would move the city backward into a system of punishment and surveillance.”

What do you think Biden’s new law about $600 bank transactions is? The government aka the IRS is tracking your bank account!!! How do you think this will affect small business? How are people suppose to make money in EBAY, stockX, and other reseller websites? Guess what a lot of POC use these sites to earn a living.

And the other complaints of using the race card to deter Adams’ initiatives… Complete garbage. Didn’t Grace Meng want to lower the voting age to 16? So you want the same criminals to vote? Or they are just children and shouldn’t be tried as adults. You can’t have your cake and eat it, too, liberals.

First of all, criminals know what they are doing is wrong, if they want to take that risk, let them be punished. If you know bail is something you cannot afford or your family cannot afford that is on you and your own responsibility. The system is not criminalizing poverty, its criminalizing bad decisions and bad people regardless of race or socioeconomic background.

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Emilio

This will all go away by spring/summer in time for outside dining and tourism. The shootings of two minority cops caused the mayor and media to change the narrative for now. We will be told how safe NYC is in a couple of weeks as things get swept under the rug.

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Liberals heart criminals

Funny how Caban mamdani et al love criminals and hate the victims who have suffered so much
These Democrat socialists are a scourge on our society
Minority community suffers from
crime and violence

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ABoondy

glad to see this is out there. please post the names of the politicians that support gun violence. they should be charged by the feds with intentionally endangering public safety while profiteering from peoples lives.

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Tiffany Cabán. Shame on you

Tiffany Cabán.
Let’s protect the criminals, and even more if they are teenagers.
A kid with a gun or knife committing a crime is an adult, stop being so “politically correct” about it.

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Bill

If you want to know why people are being pushed in front of subways, cops are being murdered and babies are being shot look to Michael Gianaris, Jessica Rojas, Zohran Mamdami, Tiffany Caban and Jessica Won. These ignorant idiots and their extremist misguided views are going to destroy a city that so many have worked so hard to build up. God help us if one of them ever becomes mayor. Oh wait a minute. We did have one of them Bill DeBlasio. And look at the city has become. Stop electing these people! Can’t you see an unsafe city is what you get!!! Stop!!!! A city that makes headlines all over the world for it’s violence.

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Jim

Right on Bill. Criminals, drug addicts and mentally I’ll people need to be taken off the streets. Let’s help them if we can but people need to be protected from dangerous individuals.

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