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Eric Adams spars with Georgia Republican over New York being flooded by 3,000 illegal guns: ‘Many come from Georgia’

New York state has some of the toughest gun restrictions in the US but has not been immune to the spike in gun violence seen across the country in recent months as thousands of firearms illegally enter from states with more relaxed gun laws

Rachel Sharp
Wednesday 08 June 2022 22:59 BST
Eric Adams says ‘many’ illegal guns in New York come from Georgia

New York City Mayor Eric Adams has sparred with a Republican lawmaker from Georgia over the influx of illegal guns flooding the Big Apple, saying that “many” of those seized originated in the southern state.

Mr Adams testified before the House Oversight Committee on Wednesday as part of hearings called to tackle the nation’s escalating gun violence following a spate of deadly mass shootings in recent weeks.

The mayor told the committee that illegal guns have been “flooding” New York City, with the NYPD having seized more than 3,000 in the last year alone.

“A crisis that is flooding our cities with illegal guns faster than we can take them off the street,” he testified.

“The New York Police Department has taken over 3,000 illegal guns off our streets this year alone.

“But the guns just keep coming,” he warned.

Georgia Rep Jody Hice questioned Mr Adams about why the city has witnessed “record numbers” of illegal firearms when the state has some of the strictest gun laws in the country.

“Many come from Georgia,” Mr Adams fired back.

Mr Adams urged lawmakers to pass common sense gun control laws, testifying that cities and states cannot battle gun violence alone.

Instead, he said that federal gun safety laws are needed to stop the flow of firearms from other states that have lax gun laws into places like New York.

“If we don’t have a combined effort with the intervention items we’re putting in place, the prevention, and also stop the flow,” he said

“Many of the guns that we’re witnessing are purchased or stolen from outside of our state.”

He gave the example of one gun in particular that was stolen in July 2020 and was then used in six acts of violence on the streets of New York.

New York City Mayor Eric Adams testifies during a House Committee on Oversight and Reform hearing on gun violence on Capitol Hill (AP)

“It’s more than what we do locally,” he said.

“We need asistance with the partnership of the federal government to stop the flow of guns into our cities.”

New York state already has some of the toughest gun restrictions in the US but the city has not been immune to the spike in gun violence across the country.

In April, 10 people were shot and dozens more injured in a terrorist attack on a subway in Brooklyn.

Last month, a man was shot dead on a subway train as it travelled to Manhattan by a stranger in a random attack.

Meanwhile, Georgia is among a group of Republican states that has some of the most lax gun laws in the country.

Gun safety laws have become increasingly weak in recent times, with Republican Governor Brian Kemp signing a law in April allowing people to carry concealed handguns in public without needing a licence.

Mr Adams urged lawmakers on Capitol Hill to put aside their political differences, saying that gun safety isn’t about “blue versus red” as he warned that the “clock is ticking” to end gun violence.

“We are facing a crisis that is killing more Americans than war. A crisis that is now the number one cause of death for our young people,” he testified.

“This is a crisis that transcends party lines and affects both rural and urban communities.”

He added: “No matter what our party affiliation, we are united in our mission to stop crime, save lives, and bring an end to gun violence.

“Because this isn’t about blue versus red – this is about right versus wrong.

“Whether it is on the street wearing a badge, or in these chambers taking a vote, we must stand for what is right.

During his testimony, the New York City mayor challenged the US to answer whether gunmaker profits are more important than children’s lives.

“It is high noon in America. Time for every one of us to decide where we stand on the issue of gun violence,” he asked.

“Time to decide if it is more important to protect the profits of gun manufacturers or the lives of our children.

“Time to decide if we are going to be a nation of laws, or a confederation of chaos.”

He added: “And we must do it now. It is high noon in America. The clock is ticking, every day, every minute towards another hour of death.”

The mayor urged Congress to introduce “common-sense gun reform”, pass a bipartisna bill on background checks, confirm President Joe Biden’s nomination for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives

“We must work together to dam all the rivers that lead to this sea of violence,” he said.

“Common-sense gun reform must become the law of the land.”

The Democrat also dismissed suggestions from some Republicans that arming teachers would help reduce school shootings.

Instead, the former NYPD officer said that would be “harmful to the law enforcement community, it’s harmful to civilians and it’s harmful to our children”.

The House Oversight Committee convened the special hearings to tackle the nation’s “gun violence epidemic”.

Lawmakers heard from victims, survivors and families of victims who were injured or killed in last month’s mass shootings in Uvalde, Texas, and Buffalo, New York.

On 14 May, 10 Black people were shot dead in by a self-proclaimed racist and white supremacist at a Tops Friendly Market grocery store in Buffalo.

Just 10 days later, 19 young students aged just nine to 11 years old and two teachers were shot and killed in a mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas.

Days after that, four people were murdered in a mass shooting at a hospital in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

In all three cases, AR-15s were used and the shooters bought the weapons legally.

Dozens more Americans have also been killed in mass shootings across the country in recent weeks.

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