Mayor Adams Discusses Plans to Curb Gun Violence in Schools

By Matis Glenn

New York City Mayor Eric Adams delivers an address on his first 100 days and the future of New York City at the Kings Theatre in Brooklyn on Tuesday , April 26, 2022. (Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)

NYC Mayor Eric Adams discussed his plans on how to stop gun violence in schools and among children on Wednesday, following Tuesday’s tragic school shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas. The shooting, which left 19 children and two teachers dead, was the largest school shooting in the country in almost a decade, and comes on the heels of two other mass shootings of late – last week’s shooting at a Buffalo supermarket by a white supremacist, and an attack in late April on a Subway in Brooklyn by a man with black nationalist beliefs.

The Mayor unveiled plans to begin using gun detection technology in schools and subways, which will not involve individual, manual screening which would be “be like going into prisons”, but rather would allow for many people to pass through at once, without impeding movement. The detectors would be able to determine which individual among the people walking through is carrying a weapon.

The Mayor was joined by Schools Chancellor David Banks, and Deputy Police Commissioner Edward Keeban. Adams said he had planned to have this meeting before the shooting, explaining how prevalent guns are in schools and how many children possess them. Twenty guns were discovered in NYC schools since September 2021, up  from only 5 in 2019, according to Keeban. A whopping 5,546 dangerous weapons have been recovered as well, a 124% increase since 2019. Of the 20 guns, one was a ghost gun, and another had the serial number scratched off.

“Guns are in the hands of our children,” the Mayor said, referring to recent shootings involving minors, and the amount of weapons found in schools.  Adams displayed two pistols which had been confiscated from a high school student, with 18 bullets, that had been discovered last week in the teen’s knapsack. The day after those were recovered, a 13 year old middle-school boy was found to have been in possession of a gun. In both cases, school staff had heard about the firearms and had alerted police, in the 2nd case, a teacher had overheard conversations between students which made her suspicious.  

“Public safety can’t be about luck and overhearing conversations. It must be about clear directions, on stopping this violence,” Adams said.

Adams, Banks and Keeban all urged parents to take a proactive role in keeping guns away from their children. Adams stressed that social media has indoctrinated many children from homes that are not traditionally at risk for gun violence, and that all parents must be vigilant in looking for signs that their children may have obtained guns. “We want parents to join us in this coalition for protecting our children,” Adams said.

Adams called out lax prosecution, and the court’s failure to keep dangerous people off the street as one of the “rivers of a sea of violence.”

Adams showed the audience a disturbing video posted to social media picturing a group of youngsters brandishing handguns, singing a rap song about murder. It isn’t clear if the children were filmed in New York.  “Children are being indoctrinated by social media,” The Mayor Said. “Rap videos with guns… even if we’re not letting bad people into our homes, the bad people are coming into our homes through the phone, computer and iPads,” he explained.

Schools Chancellor David Banks explained that most weapons that are recovered are because of community members reporting. Students aren’t bringing guns to school to engage in shootings, but rather to feel safe when they go home, he explained. He and the mayor discussed “safe haven” initiatives with local businesses and other plans to make safer routes for students to go home after school.

Shootings citywide have decreased 30% in April, and continue to decline at the same rate in the first three weeks of May, according to Adams. Spot bag checks, as well as transit officers randomly searching for explosives and guns has, fueled the downtick, the Mayor said. “We’ve increased patrols in neighborhoods where there was the most violence, added more cops in subways, focused deployment of violence interrupters, increasing visualization and inspection in subways,” he added. The NYPD reports that 2,900 firearms have been confiscated this year.

“We have to support the police” Adams said. “This anti-police belief is not what the majority of NYers feel. The symbol of public safety rests in that blue uniform,” he said.

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