In an impassioned defense of the NYPD, Mayor Adams called for more help from the federal government and New Yorkers themselves to tackle what he called the city’s newest criminal scourge — ghost guns.
“I feel like I’m in an alternate reality. We are probably the only civilized country that sends its troops into battle, and we criticize them every day. We’re doing it,” a frustrated Adams told reporters Wednesday at NYPD headquarters in Lower Manhattan, referring to 131 firearms on the table in front of him.
“This father and son-in-law, future son-in-law, despite what we say about them, are walking out again with the uncertainty of coming home. And we only criticize them! That’s all we do. I don’t hear good stories about men and women protecting us from the bad people. Nobody talks about it,” Adams said of the rank and file cops.
Adams also criticized the “far left” for failing to have the officers’ backs and fostering the “defund the police” movement. He didn’t name pro-defund advocates like Socialist Democrat Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, but in the past he blamed his predecessor, left-leaning ex-Mayor Bill de Blasio, for the city’s soft stance on crime.
“We’ve had this fight before, but you know, we’ve won it before because everyone was with us – we worked as a team, we weren’t alone.”
Adams, NYPD Commissioner Keechant Sewell and the Everytown for Gun Safety Action Fund, a non-profit organization against gun violence, also sent a letter to the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to revoke Nevada-based Polymer80’s gun license – the nation’s largest supplier of untraceable gun parts, according to ATF records.
Sewell said Gotham’s ability to mitigate gun violence is being thwarted by the growing proliferation of these homemade ghost guns on the streets of the Big Apple.
“The New York Police Department [saw] the first ghost pistol in 2018 and that year the total number recovered was 17. In 2019 it was 50. By 2020 the number was 150. And then in 2021 it was 275. And that was just in the first four months of the year In 2022, our officers have already recovered 153 ghost weapons, a 314 percent increase over the same period a year ago,” Sewell said.
“The problem is obvious and the dangers to the people of New York City are here. In response, the NYPD has increased our efforts to seize, investigate and create cases related to these weapons.”
When asked by The Post for a number on how many of the city’s shootings were linked to ghost weapons, officials were unable to provide an answer.
“Yes, we need to confiscate these guns, but we also need to hold people accountable for buying and using them to harm the citizens of our city. And since these guns are currently sold primarily online, the sites that sell them can easily circumvent any regulation,” Sewell said.
The announcement followed another bloody night after NYPD officer Dennis Vargas of the Bronx Borough’s Public Safety Team was shot in the arm by a repeat offender late Tuesday night.
At around 10:45 p.m., Vargas, 32, and his partner gave chase to suspect Rameek Smith, 25, who began firing at officers – hitting Vargas in the process.
The cops returned fire and shot Smith in the head. He later died at St. Barnabas Hospital.
“The number of shootings that we respond to each night is despicable,” Adams said at a news conference early Wednesday at Lincoln Hospital, where Vargas was admitted after the shooting and released hours later.
“We have taken 2,600 guns off our streets. The shooters of these guns are back on the streets, just like this person,” the mayor raged.
Smith also had a criminal history. He was arrested at a Coney Island subway station in March 2020, allegedly in possession of a gun, after being pulled over for fare evasion and charged with criminal gun possession, The Post previously reported. In 2016, he was sentenced to five years probation for robbery.
But in December 2021 he pleaded guilty to the gun charge and was released pending sentencing, which has been delayed. He was due to appear back in court in June.
“Then last night when our brave police officers came across this career criminal on the street and he used another illegal weapon to shoot one of the officers,” Sewell said Tuesday.
“We cannot accept such dangerous and highly avoidable confrontations with repeat offenders, who are allowed full liberties by the criminal justice system. We must correct these mistakes.”
Adams worked to eliminate violence in the city, and after taking office restored the NYPD’s anti-gun unit in plain clothes, albeit with jackets clearly marked.
He recently unveiled the department’s summer plan to reduce violence, with a roadmap to put more officers on night patrol.
NYPD data released last week showed gun violence in the Big Apple has declined over the past month compared to April 2021 — but the number of shootings was still nearly double what it was before the COVID-19 pandemic, and the total number of major crimes increased by 34.2%.
The mayor also said he speaks to Sewell every morning and every Sunday to catch up on the NYPD’s progress.
https://nypost.com/2022/05/11/eric-adams-makes-plea-for-nypd-demands-feds-do-more-on-ghost-guns/ Eric Adams advocates for the NYPD and urges the government to do more about ghost guns