NY Gov Bans the Long Gun for National Guardsman Patrolling Subways

by Tommy Grant

Apparently New Yorkers want to feel safe from the surge in subway crime in Metropolis, but the sight of big, scary rifles in the hands of those sent to protect them is just a little too much. As a result, New York Governor Kathy Hochul has directed the National Guard to cease carrying long guns while conducting bag checks in the NYC subway system. Perhaps rather than worrying about what firearm they are carrying; straphangers should be more worried about the 4th Amendment violations taking place with the searches of their bags.

But that part apparently doesn’t register.

“While it is certainly a relief that the National Guard’s long rifles will not be present underground, treating our subway system like a war zone remains an unnecessary overreaction based on fear, not facts,” Donna Lieberman, executive director of the New York Civil Liberties Union, told AMNY. And then she couldn’t stop with that concern, she had to make sure she gave it the required progressive spin.

“Deploying military personnel to the subways will not make New Yorkers feel safe; it will, unfortunately, create a perfect storm for tension, escalation, and further criminalization of Black and Brown New Yorkers,” she said. Ah yes, the race card. But she left out climate change! Amateur!

Anyway, we digress, sort of like Lieberman did. Hochul’s directive comes in response to widespread criticism of the militarization of the subway following the deployment of 750 National Guardsmen to assist with security measures amidst rising subway crime rates. The move, initially intended to enhance safety, had sparked debate among city officials, law enforcement and the public.

The decision to ban military-grade rifles was confirmed by a spokesperson for Governor Hochul, emphasizing that the change was implemented “immediately after” the deployment began last week. Despite the adjustment, soldiers will continue to carry weapons at major transit hubs like Grand Central and Penn Station, where they consistently have since the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks.

No word on if the guns that they are carrying are actually loaded or not. Maybe each soldier is only allowed one bullet like Barney Fife in the old Andy Griffith Show.

Of course, even the cops are annoyed at the encroachment on their turf. Critics of the initial deployment, including NYPD Chief of Patrol John Chell and former Police Commissioner Bernie Kerik, have accused the governor of treating the subway system like a “war zone” and undermining the expertise of the NYPD.

But Hochul remained firm, defending the deployment as a measure to address the “crisis” of rising subway crime, which saw a 13% increase in major crimes in 2024 compared to the same period in 2023, including high-profile incidents of violence. She stressed that the presence of the National Guard is meant to serve as a deterrent and to supplement the efforts of the NYPD in making the subway system feel safer for commuters.

But maybe they should actually enforce the laws they have on the books that worked well to clean up New York City and make it a safe place for residents and tourists alike under Mayor Rudy Giuliani through much of the 1990s. While the former mayor has become a bit of a sweaty, dripping hair-dyed caricature of himself to today’s generation, to anyone who visited New York before he was mayor and after he was mayor know what a cesspool of crime and debauchery the city was prior to him taking office and how it was after.

But some lessons are never learned, and even now, the criminals don’t seem to be too distraught over Hochul’s theater.

Despite the governor’s reassurances, the decision to deploy the National Guard in the subway has faced opposition from civil liberties organizations. The New York Civil Liberties Union, through its executive director Donna Lieberman, criticized the move as an overreaction based on fear rather than facts, arguing that it could exacerbate tensions and lead to the further criminalization of marginalized communities.

In response to the controversy, Governor Hochul has reiterated her commitment to ensuring the safety of subway riders without creating undue fear or anxiety. The National Guard’s role in the subway will now be limited to bag checks without the visible presence of long guns, a change that has been welcomed by some commuters who support the idea of enhanced security but questioned the necessity of such heavy weaponry in a crowded public space.

As New York City continues to grapple with the challenge of maintaining public safety while respecting the concerns of its citizens, the adjustments to the National Guard’s deployment in the subway system reflect an ongoing dialogue about the most effective and appropriate ways to ensure security in one of the world’s busiest transit systems.

Read the full article here

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