New York City Mayor Eric Adams said Thursday that most Americans are pleading for “sensible” gun laws but e caught between two extremes that are screaming the loudest in the debate.
The recently elected Democrat, speaking to PIX11, said that those on the far left don’t want to hold anyone accountable for gun violence while those on the far right want to arm everyone.
The onetime New York City policeman said the majority of Americans want to place checks on firearm use in the wake of mass shootings in Buffalo, New York, and Texas and everyday violence on city streets.
“We need sensible gun laws,” Mr. Adams told PIX11. “What was passed in Congress yesterday is a starting point.”
Mr. Adams was referring to a House package by Democrats that has no chance of passing in the Senate, where bipartisan negotiators are considering other measures.
The mayor testified on Capitol Hill in support of tougher gun measures as he battles sinking approval ratings amid rising public safety concerns, especially on the transit system. Murders are down slightly from this time last year, but other major crime categories are up.
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He wants federal lawmakers to bolster so-called “red flag” laws, designed to keep guns away from dangerous people, and he wants a crackdown on straw purchases made by people with clean records, who then give guns to people with criminal records. “We have to be bold enough” to bar military-style weapons, he added.
“We have to dam every river that feeds the sea of violence,” Mr. Adams said. “You don’t need an assault weapon to shoot rabbits.”
A Spectrum News NY1/Siena College poll this week found that 70% of city residents feel less safe than before the coronavirus pandemic and 76% fear they could be a victim of violent crime.
Fewer than three in 10 — 29% — rated the mayor’s performance as good or excellent, while 64% described his performance as fair or poor.
Mr. Adams said he is trying to fix the problem by taking more guns off the street and pushing the courts to try people quickly instead of setting them loose on the streets pending trial.
“It’s my obligation to keep New Yorkers safe and I’m going to do that,” Mr. Adams said.