New York City Council’s Minority Leader, Joe Borelli (R-Staten Island), introduced a bill on Wednesday that would designate Times Square a “crime-free” zone.
The proposed legislation was filed in response to a local law introduced in August by City Council Democrats that, after it was enacted, designated Times Square a “sensitive area” under state law and restricted concealed firearms in the tourist hot spot.
Borelli’s office did not return a request for comment before the publication of this article.
However, Borelli told the Staten Island Advance, “if putting gun-free zone signs was a good idea, certainly, a crime-free zone sign must be a better idea.”
The bill currently has six sponsors, including five Republicans and one Democrat. Robert Holden (D-Queens) is the lone Democrat to sponsor the bill. He ran on the Republican Party line in his 2017 and 2021 campaigns.
Through a spokesperson, New York City Council Speaker Adrienne Adams (D-Queens) reaffirmed her support for the August bill that restricted firearms in the densely populated Times Square area, which passed following the state’s Concealed Carry Improvement Act.
A spokesperson for the Speaker added that Adams respects the legislative process, despite Borelli’s bill appearing to mock council Democrats’ efforts to improve public safety in the city.
City and state lawmakers in New York passed new gun safety laws last year shortly after the Supreme Court struck down New York’s long-standing concealed carry law in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association, Inc. v. Bruen, but council members are often at odds on how to approach improving safety in the city.
“This bill is highlighting just how ineffective many of these useless ‘anti-crime’ bills being pushed through legislature really are,” said Council Member Joann Ariola (R-Queens), who sponsored Borelli’s bill, in a statement to the Crime Report.
“We’re hoping that it will raise some awareness and convince our colleagues to think more critically about some of the legislation we pass and show them we need more than hollow words and meaningless signage if we really want to make New York a safer city in the future.”
While it is unlikely the “crime-free” bill will pass, its sponsors hope its message rings loud.
“Times Square is now officially a gun-free zone thanks to my colleagues’ posting of gun-free signs, and if they believe that works effectively, they shouldn’t be opposed to posting crime-free zone signs too,” Council Member Robert Holden (D-Queens) said in a statement to the Crime Report.
“The truth is, we must empower our police officers, remove ineffective District Attorneys from office, and repeal laws like cashless bail, Raise the Age, and Less is More to really make a difference in reducing crime.”