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Biden has to do more than decry firearms during NYC visit

There’s no mystery about what will be on President Biden’s agenda when he comes to New York next week. With Americans — and New Yorkers in particular — worried more than ever about a surge in crime and murder on his watch, the president will try to sound like he has a plan to do something about it. And he’ll have a willing partner in Mayor Adams, who understands that the success of his new administration will largely depend on whether he is able to make Gothamites feel safer in their city. 

But the problem is that the only aspect of this crisis that Biden is prepared to talk about — too many guns — is one that can’t come anywhere close to accomplishing that goal. 

Biden and Adams are right that the seemingly endless flow across state and municipal borders of lethal weapons across state and municipal borders criminals use to gun down both police officers and civilians must be stopped. Hizzoner spoke for most New Yorkers when in the aftermath of last week’s tragic shooting of Officers Jason Rivera and Wilbert Mora he expressed frustration about the fact that for every gun seized by New York’s Finest, five more come into the city all the time. 

Family members gather at the casket of slain New York City police officer Jason Rivera in St. Patrick’s Cathedral.
NYPD officers Jason Rivera and Wilbert Mora were fatally ambushed when responding to a domestic call last week, sparking a renewed mission for officials to get guns off the streets.

This is a problem New York can’t solve by itself. Federal efforts to enforce existing laws and make it tougher on gun traffickers are necessary. That’s a message Biden will be happy to embrace as he seeks to position himself as pro-law enforcement. Democrats know that their party’s increasing dominant left wing’s embrace of the delusional idea of defunding or “reimagining” the police is political poison as well as terrible policy. 

But let’s not kid ourselves. As much as illegal guns play a role in the increase in murders, even if Biden and Adams were able to do something about it — and the prospects for that are, at best, doubtful — we know that’s not the main reason the city has gotten less safe. 

The criminals who are gunning people down may be getting their weapons from elsewhere, but it’s the terrible policies cooked up in Albany and the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office that have turned the city into a shooting gallery. 

NYPD sting operation which lead to the confiscation of over 25 guns from gang members of the Crips.
Many officials blame out-of-state gun manufacturers for producing the weapons and Southern states for loose regulations that allow the guns to circulate easily.
Gabriella Bass

It’s easy to blame out-of-state gun manufacturers for producing the weapons and Southern states for loose regulations that make it easier for them to circulate. But in a country where the people are already outnumbered by the number of guns — legal and illegal — and where the right to own them is protected by the Constitution, even more “sensible” gun-control laws would only nibble around the edges of the problem. 

It’s the people who pull the triggers and not just the weapons themselves that have created this crisis. 

Thanks to New York state’s insane “bail reform” law that went into effect last year, armed criminals are often released without bail even if they are caught by our embattled cops. And DAs like Manhattan’s Alvin Bragg are committed to not prosecuting all but the worst criminals because of their commitment to the equally irrational belief that doing so creates more “equity” in the justice system. 

If Biden wants to help rather than merely virtue signal and sound tired talking points about gun control, he should join forces with Adams to pressure a reluctant Gov. Hochul and the Albany Legislature to repeal the “bail reform” law that has been a gift that keeps on giving to criminals. And he should publicly denounce left-wing prosecutors here and around the country who think their main job is to protect those committing crimes rather than the victims. 

If all Biden is willing to do is denounce guns, then he, like Hochul, will be demonstrating that his main concern is not offending his party’s leftist defund-the-police wing that is dragging the Democrats and New York down. That won’t help Adams in his quest to fix the disaster that he inherited from Bill de Blasio or make New Yorkers safer. 

Jonathan S. Tobin is editor-in-chief of Twitter: @Jonathans_tobin 

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