Mayor Eric Adams of New York City called for bipartisan gun control legislation, a ban on assault weapons and federal aid to help cities and states address the root causes of violence during testimony on Wednesday before the House Oversight Committee.
Mr. Adams, who was elected based on his promise to reduce crime, has struggled in the face of high-profile shootings on the subway and the death of multiple children from stray bullets. Shootings and deaths in New York City remain at heightened levels compared to two years ago, but have decreased compared with last year.
Last week, Mr. Adams appointed a “gun violence czar” before the start of the summer months, when shootings typically increase in the nation’s most populous city.
“Ladies and gentlemen, it is high noon in America. Time for every one of us to decide where we stand on the issue of gun violence,” Mr. Adams said. “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.”
Mr. Adams has rejected calls to reduce police funding and has stoked concerns about a return to the discriminatory policing policies of New York City’s past by increasing police presence on the subway and bringing back a special police squad focused on recovering guns, which used abusive tactics in the past.
In a recent poll of New York City residents, 70 percent said they feel less safe today than they did before the pandemic. Mr. Adams has focused recently on the issue of “ghost guns” and an expected ruling from the Supreme Court that would strike down a law limiting the ability of people to carry guns outside of their homes.
The mayor asked for help to “dam all the rivers that lead to this sea of violence. Common-sense gun reform must become the law of the land,” he said.