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How Christian Smalls and Derrick Palmer Beat Amazon

The company’s crackdown on a worker protest in New York backfired and led to a historic labor victory.

Derrick Palmer, in pink, and Christian Smalls, right, celebrated after workers voted to unionize an Amazon warehouse in Staten Island. The two friends spearheaded the push for the union.Credit…DeSean McClinton-Holland for The New York Times

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Jodi Kantor and

In the first dark days of the pandemic, as an Amazon worker named Christian Smalls planned a small, panicked walkout over safety conditions at the retailer’s only fulfillment center in New York City, the company quietly mobilized.

Amazon formed a reaction team involving 10 departments, including its Global Intelligence Program, a security group staffed by many military veterans. The company named an “incident commander” and relied on a “Protest Response Playbook” and “Labor Activity Playbook” to ward off “business disruptions,” according to newly released court documents.

In the end, there were more executives — including 11 vice presidents — who were alerted about the protest than workers who attended it. Amazon’s chief counsel, describing Mr. Smalls as “not smart, or articulate,” in an email mistakenly sent to more than 1,000 people, recommended making him “the face” of efforts to organize workers. The company fired Mr. Smalls, saying he had violated quarantine rules by attending the walkout.

In dismissing and smearing him, the company relied on the hardball tactics that had driven its dominance of the market. But on Friday, he won the first successful unionization effort at any Amazon warehouse in the United States, one of the most significant labor victories in a generation. The company’s response to his tiny initial protest may haunt it for years to come.
Mr. Smalls and his best friend from the warehouse, Derrick Palmer, had set their sights on unionizing after he was forced out. Along with a growing band of colleagues — and no affiliation with a national labor organization — the two men spent the past 11 months going up against Amazon, whose 1.1 million workers in the United States make it the country’s second-largest private employer.

At the bus stop outside the warehouse, a site on Staten Island known as JFK8, they built bonfires to warm colleagues waiting before dawn to go home. They made TikTok videos to reach workers across the city. Mr. Palmer brought homemade baked ziti to the site; others toted empanadas and West African rice dishes to appeal to immigrant workers. They set up signs saying “Free Weed and Food.”

The union spent $120,000 overall, raised through GoFundMe, according to Mr. Smalls. “We started this with nothing, with two tables, two chairs and a tent,” he recalled. Amazon spent more than $4.3 million just on anti-union consultants nationwide last year, according to federal filings.

The unionization vote reflects an era of rising worker power. In recent months, a string of Starbucks stores have voted to organize as well. But JFK8, with 8,000 workers, is one of Amazon’s signature warehouses, its most important pipeline to its most important market.
Amazon has fought unionization for years, considering it a dire threat to its business model. Its ability to speed packages to consumers is built on a vast chain of manual labor that is monitored down to the second. No one knows what will happen if the newly organized workers try to change that model or disrupt operations — or if their union is replicated among the more than 1,000 Amazon fulfillment centers and other facilities across the country.

For all their David-versus-Goliath disadvantages, the Staten Island organizers had the cultural moment on their side. They were buoyed by a tightened labor market, a reckoning over what employers owe their workers and a National Labor Relations Board emboldened under President Biden, which made a key decision in their favor. The homegrown, low-budget push by their independent Amazon Labor Union outperformed traditional labor organizers who failed at unionizing Amazon from the outside, most recently in Bessemer, Ala.

“I think it’s going to shake up the labor movement and flip the orthodoxy on its head,” said Justine Medina, a box packer and union organizer at JFK8 who had waited with an exuberant crowd in Brooklyn to hear the vote results.

The future of American unionizing efforts “can’t be about people coming in from the outside with an organizing plan that people have to follow,” said Sara Nelson, head of the flight attendants’ union, in an interview. “It has to come from within the workplace.”

Now, both the nascent JFK8 union and Amazon face pressing questions. The union, with no traditional infrastructure, experience or leadership, is likely to face a legal battle over the vote and challenging contract negotiations. The company, which did not respond to a request for comment for this article, will have to decide whether to reconsider some of its tactics and address the underlying labor dissatisfaction that handed it such a sweeping defeat.

“Amazon wanted to make me the face of the whole unionizing efforts against them,” Mr. Smalls wrote in a tweet on Friday, appearing undaunted by the task ahead. “Welp there you go!”

When Amazon opened the sprawling JFK8 site in 2018, the company was both drawn to and wary of New York, America’s most important consumer market. The established Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union announced a bold goal: to turn JFK8 into the first organized Amazon warehouse in the country.

Soon Amazon withdrew from its highly touted plan to open a second headquarters in the city, as a backlash grew over public subsidies it would receive and its history of opposing unions. But the talk of organizing JFK8 went nowhere. In labor circles, many believed that Amazon’s turnover was too high, and its tactics too combative, for a union to succeed.

When the first coronavirus cases were confirmed at JFK8 in March 2020, Mr. Palmer and Mr. Smalls confronted managers with safety concerns. Employees were increasingly worried about rising infection rates and felt that Amazon was not notifying them about cases in a timely manner, managers documented in newly released court records.

But Amazon refused to pause operations, saying it had taken “extreme measures” to keep workers safe. The pandemic had turned JFK8 into a lifeline for the city, where 24/7 shifts and a fleet of trucks delivered supplies as it went into lockdown.

As Amazon moved to fire Mr. Smalls that March, two human resource employees at JFK8 doubted the wisdom of his dismissal. “Come on,” one messaged. Mr. Smalls was outside, peaceful and social-distancing, she wrote. His firing, she predicted, would be “perceived as retaliation.” But the termination proceeded.

After the firing, the chief counsel’s smear against Mr. Smalls — a full apology came only later — and the dismissal of another protester, the two friends resolved to take action. Mr. Smalls was outspoken, Mr. Palmer deliberate. They were both Black men from New Jersey and the same age (31 then, 33 now). Both had dropped out of community college, prided themselves on high scores on Amazon’s performance metrics and once hoped to rise within the company.
Now they made new plans. Mr. Palmer would keep working at JFK8, the better to change it from inside.

In early 2021, they took a road trip to another Amazon warehouse. When workers held a union drive in Bessemer, Ala., Mr. Palmer and Mr. Smalls wanted to witness it. But they found organizers from the retail union — the one that had previously declared an interest in JFK8 — less than welcoming to them and thought the professionals seemed like outsiders who had descended on the community.

By April, workers in Bessemer had rejected the union by more than a 2-to-1 margin. Mr. Palmer and Mr. Smalls declared their intention to organize JFK8, but few took them seriously. Why should they win when better-funded, more experienced operatives had been beaten?
As they set about their first task — gathering thousands of worker signatures to trigger a unionization vote — cracks in Amazon’s employment model were evident.

JFK8 had offered jobs to workers laid off by other industries during the pandemic. But a New York Times investigation last June revealed that the warehouse was burning through employees, firing others because of communication and technology errors and mistakenly depriving workers of benefits.

Black associates at JFK8 were almost 50 percent more likely to be fired than their white peers, according to an internal document. Even before the pandemic upended work, Amazon warehouses had an astonishing annual turnover rate of 150 percent.

As Mr. Palmer and Mr. Smalls approached workers at the bus stop, Amazon’s tone toward its employees kept shifting. Jeff Bezos, the company’s founder, was handing over the role of chief executive to Andy Jassy, and the company raised wages and added the goal of being “Earth’s best employer” to its guiding principles. It pledged to listen to complaints and improve working conditions.

At other times, it was contentious. In a widely publicized Twitter exchange about the Bessemer organizing, Amazon sounded so dismissive about workers who could not take bathroom breaks and had to urinate in bottles that it had to apologize.

In May at JFK8, an anti-union consultant called the mostly Black labor organizers “thugs,” according to a complaint filed against Amazon by the N.L.R.B. The retailer denied the episode.
And in November, the labor agency said Amazon had showed “flagrant disregard” for the law and threw out the results of the Bessemer warehouse vote, ordering another.

That fall, after months of gathering support, the New York union organizers delivered more than 2,000 signatures to the labor board, but they were rejected for not meeting the minimum required to hold an election. Mr. Smalls said Amazon had submitted payroll data to the board indicating that the company believed half the people who had signed cards no longer worked at the warehouse.

“After all those months of hard work, it seemed like the momentum was gone,” Mr. Palmer recalled in an interview. Between working his shifts and organizing at JFK8 on his time off, he had spent barely a day away from the warehouse for months. Some of the employees he approached were skeptical of unions or dues, or just grateful for Amazon’s health care and pay, which starts above $18 an hour at JFK8. Others seemed too exhausted and wary to even engage.

To press onward, the union leaders posted the TikTok videos, made outdoor s’mores and sang along to hip-hop and Marvin Gaye. When workers faced family crises, the budding union prayed. One fired employee became homeless, and the group set up a fund-raising campaign.
Their near-constant presence at the warehouse helped. “The more comfortable they get with us, that’s when they start opening up to us,” Mr. Palmer said of other workers.
Some union sympathizers took jobs at JFK8 specifically to help the organizing effort, according to Ms. Medina, who was among them.

Amazon countered with the full force of its anti-union apparatus. It monitored organizers’ social media, court filings show, pelted workers with text messages and blanketed the warehouse with signs saying “Vote NO” or claiming the union leaders were outsiders. The company often held more than 20 mandatory meetings with workers a day, The Times reported last month, in which managers and consultants cast doubt on the effort.
“The Amazon Labor Union has never negotiated a contract,” one presentation said. Dues would be expensive, it continued, and the union “has no experience managing this massive amount of money.”

Andro Perez, 35, works at a smaller Amazon warehouse near JFK8, where another union vote is scheduled this month. He’s leaning toward voting yes, he said, because Amazon’s mandatory meetings mostly criticized unions. He would rather his employer address the question: “What could you do better?”

The organizers at JFK8 fought back, filing dozens of complaints with the N.L.R.B. claiming that Amazon violated workers’ rights to organize. Amazon has denied their allegations, but the labor board found many to be credible and pursued them in administrative court.
By Christmas, the organizers scored a major legal win. Amazon agreed to a nationwide settlement, among the largest in the agency’s history, that said workers could stay in the buildings to organize when they were off the clock.

With that, the organizers moved their potlucks indoors, giving them more access and legitimacy. Mr. Smalls’s aunt provided home-cooked soul food: macaroni and cheese, candied yams, collard greens and baked chicken.

“What you do is you create a community that Amazon never really had for workers,” said Seth Goldstein, a lawyer who represented the organizers free of charge.

One day this February, Mr. Smalls was bringing lunch to the break room when Amazon called the police, saying he had trespassed. He and two current employees were arrested. The response may have backfired: The union’s videos of the episode on TikTok have been viewed hundreds of thousands of times.

Kathleen Lejuez, 41, employed by Amazon for nine years, said she was not a “union fan” but voted for the organizing effort to send a message to a company that she felt had lost its connection to workers. “The humanity at Amazon is gone,” she said in an interview.

In the weeks before the count, Amazon, which has consistently said its workers are best served by a direct relationship with the company, laid the groundwork for potential challenges to the election — arguing in legal filings that the labor board had abandoned “the neutrality of their office” in favor of the union.

On Friday morning inside the agency’s offices in Brooklyn, Mr. Smalls, in siren-red streetwear, sat next to Amazon’s lawyer to review each ballot. His knee jittered as each vote was presented.

The votes were tallied — 2,654 for the union, 2,131 against. With a comfortable margin secured, Mr. Palmer, Mr. Smalls and other representatives emerged into the spring light, screamed with joy and clasped one another in a tight circle.

A few miles away, at JFK8, workers were stealthily monitoring the results in between packing and stowing boxes. There was no formal announcement. Instead, a shout rose up from somewhere on the floor: “We did it! We won!”

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POLITICS

Manhattan Prosecutors Begin Presenting Trump Case to Grand Jury

The Manhattan district attorney’s office on Monday began presenting evidence to a grand jury about Donald J. Trump’s role in paying hush money to a porn star during his 2016 presidential campaign, laying the groundwork for potential criminal charges against the former president in the coming months, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

The grand jury was recently impaneled, and the beginning of witness testimony represents a clear signal that the district attorney, Alvin L. Bragg, is nearing a decision about whether to charge Mr. Trump.

On Monday, one of the witnesses was seen with his lawyer entering the building in Lower Manhattan where the grand jury is sitting. The witness, David Pecker, is the former publisher of The National Enquirer, the tabloid that helped broker the deal with the porn star, Stormy Daniels.

As prosecutors prepare to reconstruct the events surrounding the payment for grand jurors, they have sought to interview several witnesses, including the tabloid’s former editor, Dylan Howard, and two employees at Mr. Trump’s company, the people said. Mr. Howard and the Trump Organization employees, Jeffrey McConney and Deborah Tarasoff, have not yet testified before the grand jury.

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The prosecutors have also begun contacting officials from Mr. Trump’s 2016 campaign, one of the people said. And in a sign that they want to corroborate these witness accounts, the prosecutors recently subpoenaed phone records and other documents that might shed light on the episode.

A conviction is not a sure thing, in part because a case could hinge on showing that Mr. Trump and his company falsified records to hide the payout from voters days before the 2016 election, a low-level felony charge that would be based on a largely untested legal theory. The case would also rely on the testimony of Michael D. Cohen, Mr. Trump’s former fixer who made the payment and who himself pleaded guilty to federal charges related to the hush money in 2018.

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Still, the developments compound Mr. Trump’s legal woes as he mounts a third presidential campaign. A district attorney in Georgia could seek to indict him for his efforts to overturn his 2020 election loss in the state, and he faces a special counsel investigation into his removal of sensitive documents from the White House as well as his actions during the attack on the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.

Mr. Bragg’s decision to impanel a grand jury focused on the hush money — supercharging the longest-running criminal investigation into Mr. Trump — represents a dramatic escalation in an inquiry that once appeared to have reached a dead end.

Under Mr. Bragg’s predecessor, Cyrus R. Vance Jr., the district attorney’s office had begun presenting evidence to an earlier grand jury about a case focused on Mr. Trump’s business practices, including whether he fraudulently inflated the value of his assets to secure favorable loans and other benefits. Yet in the early weeks of his tenure last year, Mr. Bragg developed concerns about the strength of that case and decided to abandon the grand jury presentation, prompting the resignations of the two senior prosecutors leading the investigation.

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Mayor Adams Announces Steps as New Concealed Carry

New Signage to be Posted to Warn Pedestrians When Entering “Sensitive Locations,” Like Times Square
City Website With Frequently Asked Questions Will Ensure New Yorkers Are Aware of New Regulations
NEW YORK – New York City Mayor Eric Adams today announced that the city is launching a comprehensive outreach plan to educate and inform New Yorkers about new state legislation, going into effect tomorrow, governing concealed carry regulations across the state. The provisions of the legislation will require concealed carry license applicants to meet revised eligibility requirements and complete a state-regulated firearms training course, as well as defines certain “sensitive locations” where concealed carry licensees are not permitted to carry guns within.

“The U.S. Supreme Court’s Bruen decision was the shot heard round the world that took dead aim at the safety of all New Yorkers. New York City will defend itself against this decision, and, beginning tomorrow, new eligibility requirements for concealed carry permit applicants and restrictions on the carrying of concealed weapons in ‘sensitive locations,’ like Times Square, take effect,” said Mayor Adams. “We will be posting signage at every entrance into Times Square informing those traveling through that the area is a gun-free zone and that licensed gun carriers and others may not enter with a gun unless otherwise specially authorized by law. As mayor of New York City and a former police officer, my top priority will always be the safety of all 8.8 million people who call this city home, so while the Supreme Court decision may have opened an additional river feeding the sea of gun violence, we are doing everything we can to dam it and keep New York the safest big city in America.”

Later today, the city will post temporary signage around Times Square informing those traveling through that the area is a gun-free zone, and licensed gun carriers and others may not enter with a firearm unless otherwise specially authorized by law. Signage will be posted at other “sensitive locations” in the near future.

The city will also launch a website tomorrow with Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) to educate New Yorkers about the law. The FAQs will provide an overview of the legislation and what changes New Yorkers can expect. The page will be updated periodically to respond to New Yorkers’ concerns and provide helpful information.

“In response to the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down New York’s century-old concealed carry law, we took swift and thoughtful action to keep New Yorkers safe,” said New York Governor Kathy Hochul. “I refuse to surrender my right as governor to protect New Yorkers from gun violence or any other form of harm. In New York state, we will continue leading the way forward and implementing common sense gun safety legislation.”

“Ignorance of the law is not an excuse to break it, but we are still committed to making it abundantly clear to every resident and visitor what the provisions and effects of this new legislation are,” said Deputy Mayor for Public Safety Philip Banks III. “What this decision doesn’t change is the fact that the NYPD and all of our public safety agencies remain focused on protecting this city. We have worked tirelessly with our law enforcement partners to prepare for the new regulations, and will continue to make safety priority #1 as this legislation goes into effect.”

 

“The state has developed a licensing regime that is consistent with Bruen and protective of commonsense eligibility requirements — and the city has worked in close coordination with our partners at the state level to implement the provisions going into effect this week,” said City Hall and Mayoral Chief Counsel Brendan McGuire. “We will continue to use every legal tool at our disposal to keep New Yorkers safe.”

 

“Nothing about the new requirements going into effect regarding legal firearm possession changes the fact that the NYPD remains prepared to ensure public safety in Times Square and elsewhere throughout New York City,” said New York City Police Department (NYPD) Commissioner Keechant L. Sewell. “The NYPD’s focus on detecting and interdicting illegal guns — and arresting those who unlawfully possess them — remains a cornerstone of our continuing fight to eradicate gun violence.”

“The city is committed to doing everything it can to assist in keeping New Yorkers safe,” said New York City Corporation Counsel Sylvia Hinds-Radix. “Our work at the Law Department is ongoing to help the city implement the state’s new laws and ensure public safety, while respecting the constitutional rights of lawful gun owners.”

“Mayor Adams is committed to keeping New Yorkers safe,” said Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice Director Deanna Logan. “We are working with our partners across the city and state to educate the public on the new regulations, strengthening social interventions that reduce the harm of illegal guns to achieve the right balance between responsible gun ownership and public safety.”

“There is no place for personal firearms at the ‘Crossroads of the World,’” said New York City Department of Transportation Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez. “Times Square is a safe, global attraction for the millions of residents, commuters, and tourists who visit and pass through it every day. We are grateful for the work of Mayor Adams and the City Council to ensure this iconic space remains welcoming to all.”

On June 23, 2022, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down New York’s handgun-licensing law in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association, Inc. v. Bruen. Before the Supreme Court’s decision,the law required applicants for conceal carry gun licenses to show “proper cause,” but the court ruled that New York state’s “proper cause” requirement violated the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

On July 1, 2022, New York state enacted Chapter 371 of the Laws of 2022 in response to the limitations set forth under the Bruen decision. The state law revises specific eligibility requirements to the concealed carry licensing process and restricts the carrying of concealed weapons in a specified list of “sensitive locations.” It also enhances safe storage requirements and background check coordination, as well as amends the state’s existing body armor purchase ban to include hard body armor.

“New York State’s new concealed carry legislation is great news for our state, and I applaud Mayor Adams for his work to educate New Yorkers on its provisions and the new gun-free zones that will help keep our communities safe from senseless gun violence,” said U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand. “In the Senate, I am proud to have helped pass the most significant piece of gun reform legislation in nearly 30 years, the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, which included major provisions from my gun trafficking bill to help limit the flow of illegal guns that come up the Iron Pipeline. We still have more work to do, but New York’s leaders are working diligently at the federal, state, and city level to keep our streets safe and to put an end to the epidemic of gun violence.”

“We have an epidemic of gun violence in this country, our nation is awash in guns—too many of them in the hands of people who pose a threat to our streets, to our schools, to our supermarkets and even to our houses of worship,” said U.S. Representative Jerrold Nadler, chair, House Judiciary Committee. “With an out-of-control Supreme Court that has mangled the meaning of the second amendment and overturned New York’s century old law that provided for reasonable restrictions and gun safety measures for the public, I am pleased that New York has taken action to require concealed carry license applicants to meet eligibility requirements and complete a state-regulated firearms training course, and has designated certain “sensitive locations” like iconic Times Square, where concealed carry licensees are not permitted to bring guns.  These actions today will make New Yorkers safer, and tells anyone that New York will do everything within its power to ensure the safety of its residents and visitors.”

“Designating ‘sensitive locations’ in a city as populated as New York is imperative to keeping our people, children, and vulnerable populations safe,” said U.S. Representative Gregory Meeks. “We cannot let senseless gun violence continue to harm our schools, subways, and communities. I applaud these new regulations going into effect swiftly after the Bruen decision, and Mayor Adams for launching a comprehensive plan to educate and inform New Yorkers on how to protect each other and our city.”

“Gun safety and gun violence preventive measures are critical to helping keep New York City families and visitors to our city safe,” said U.S. Representative Adriano Espaillat. “I commend Mayor Adams on today’s announcement to ensure gun-free zones at sensitive locations including in Times Square and other high traffic locations around the city. We must continue to prioritize safety measures and vigilance — to help keep people safe.”

“Even after the U.S. Supreme Court’s reckless and outrageous Bruen decision invalidating New York’s century-old concealed carry weapons law, New York will keep its obligation to protect our citizens,” said New York State Senator Brad Hoylman. “I’m proud to have secured the protection of Times Square, one of the most visited tourist sites on the planet, as a sensitive location where concealed weapons will not be permitted. It’s crucial to the recovery of our local economy, including Broadway, that Times Square be a gun-free zone and that its 50 million annual visitors feel safe from the dangers of gun violence.”

“The Supreme Court’s decision to dismantle the concealed carry law has opened the door to even more senseless gun violence. Banning concealed weapons in sensitive locations — like schools, government buildings, and places of worship — are the ‘common sense gun laws’ that the majority of Americans want and need,” said New York State Assemblymember Rodneyse Bichotte Hermelyn. “Thoughts and prayers after countless mass shootings aren’t enough. We have to take action to stop a Supreme Court determined to strip away sensible gun laws that protect everyday New Yorkers and Americans.  Mayor Adams’ decision to make Times Square and other densely-populated destinations ‘gun free’ is a much-needed step to protect New Yorkers. These regulations are intended to protect everyone, including law-abiding gun owners.”

“New York must continue to be a place where we do everything we can to reduce gun violence,” said New York State Assemblymember Jeffrey Dinowitz, chair, Assembly Codes Committee. “Although the Supreme Court and gun rights advocates are trying their hardest to undermine our ability to keep people safe, the state has implemented new requirements to ensure that our gun laws remain in compliance with recent judicial rulings. I am glad to see sensitive area signage being installed as well as a new city website to help all New Yorkers understand the changes in our gun laws.”

“Over the past year, my colleagues in the state legislature and I worked hard to encode new laws to protect New Yorkers from gun violence, including important revisions to the state’s concealed carry program,” said New York State Assemblymember Chantel Jackson. “Despite opposition from the Supreme Court, we passed laws to protect the program from abuse, including designated areas where concealed carry will not be permitted. This is a major victory for New Yorkers, and I support the mayor’s efforts to inform the public about the new program.”

“After we passed our gun safety bill in the extraordinary session in Albany, Mayor Adams is implementing and educating New Yorkers on this life-saving legislation,” said New York State Assemblymember Jenifer Rajkumar. “The mayor will ensure that everyone knows where our gun-free zones are, from schools to subways to Times Square. In a year where there have already been 1,000 shootings, including one last week in my district that left a man in critical condition, this preemptive action will keep firearms out of sensitive areas and stop gun violence before it starts.”

“When the Supreme Court sided with the NRA’s New York chapter to weaken gun safety laws, the state legislature stepped up and passed a new law to address crime in New York,” said New York State Assemblymember Manny de los Santos, MSW. “Thank you, Mayor Adams, for speedily implementing this new state law to keep New Yorkers safe.”

“Gun violence has torn apart too many families and threatens community safety,” said New York City Comptroller Brad Lander. The city’s steps to implement enhanced training and no-gun zones in high traffic areas will help keep these deadly weapons out of hands and off streets where they do not belong. I commend the state legislature for acting swiftly to strengthen our concealed carry laws that will protect New Yorkers.”

“Gun violence is a serious crisis in our city and nation, and the Supreme Court’s misguided decision to strike down New York’s concealed carry gun law presented a major challenge to keeping New Yorkers safe,” said New York City Council Speaker Adrienne Adams. “Our state government leaders acted swiftly and responsibly by passing regulations to prioritize our safety, including the designation of sensitive locations like Times Square as gun-free zones. With the new law set to go into effect on September 1st, the council and administration are working closely to define and implement the boundaries of the Times Square sensitive areas through administrative rules and legislation. It is also imperative for the city to take steps so residents and visitors alike are clear about the new law and designated areas where gun-carrying is restricted. We will continue to pursue new initiatives that keep our communities safe by preventing violence, investing in solutions, and limiting the over-proliferation of deadly firearms.”

“The Bruen decision was a setback in the fight against gun violence, but I want to reassure all New Yorkers that we are using every tool available to hold accountable those who illegally use dangerous firearms,” said Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg. “We commend the mayor’s office for its efforts to educate the public about the impact of the decision and the new regulations enacted in response. We will work hand-in-hand with our law enforcement partners, city officials, businesses, and community leaders to enhance awareness, answer questions and keep out communities safe”.

“Fewer guns on our streets and in our neighborhoods correlates with lower levels of gun violence,” said Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez. “While the Supreme Court’s recent decision has forced our state to adopt more permissive concealed carry laws, the legislature’s quick action to prohibit the concealed carrying of handguns in sensitive areas in New York was an essential step to keep us safe, and these signs will help law-abiding gun owners comply with the new laws.”

“While I and many others in law enforcement remain deeply concerned over the Supreme Court’s recent decision regarding concealed carry regulations, we must now face this new reality together and join forces on all levels of government to ensure our city has effective stopgaps in place to prevent future gun violence from spreading in our communities,” said Staten Island District Attorney Michael McMahon. “I applaud Mayor Adams and his team for putting this comprehensive plan in place and we will continue working closely together to educate New Yorkers about these new regulations. At the same time, my office will continue to vigorously prosecute anyone who violates our gun laws and threatens the safety and security of our communities.”

“While the Supreme Court works to make it harder to keep guns under control, Mayor Adams, Governor Hochul and the state legislature are taking steps to protect New Yorkers in sensitive areas of our city,” said Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine. “The simple fact is the fewer guns on our street the safer everybody will be, and we must continue to work to better control all guns in this country. But I’m proud of the work the mayor and state legislature have done to restrict conceal carry weapons, and to educate New Yorkers about a law that will undoubtedly help keep people safe.”

“The Supreme Court decision overturning our state’s long-standing concealed carry regulations was horribly misguided and deeply undermines our efforts to combat the scourge of gun violence, which has stolen precious lives and ripped apart grieving families for far too long,” said Queens Borough President Donovan Richards Jr. “Thankfully the state adopted revised rules to mitigate the damage done by the court’s awful decision. I commend Mayor Adams and his administration for educating and informing our city’s residents about these revisions and for their continued work to keep our families safe, despite the roadblocks imposed by the court.”

“The erosion of New York State’s Sullivan Act to restrict one’s ability to carry a concealed handgun outside of their residence puts all New Yorkers at risk, said New York City Council Majority Whip Selvena N. Brooks-Powers. “From Buffalo to Brookville, this new precedent allows guns in public places, including most forms of public transportation, a troubling fact considering the rise in shootings. As the city continues to see a rise in gun violence, educating the public is the first step to ensuring public safety. I look forward to working with this administration and all of my colleagues in government to expand the safety zones to better protect the public.”

“The Supreme Court’s ever-growing extremist, right-wing jurisprudence is proof that we cannot wait for the federal government to act and must take gun safety into our own hands,” said New York City Councilmember Crystal Hudson. “This public outreach program is a much needed first step to ensure everyone knows that while New York City may be welcoming to all, it is not welcoming to guns. I look forward to working with the administration and state lawmakers to limit concealed carry regulations to the greatest extent possible and enacting additional measures aimed at ensuring anyone coming to New York – from residents to tourists – understands the law.”

“In response to the unfortunate decision in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association, Inc. v. Bruen, I commend Mayor Adams for taking action that will keep guns out of sensitive locations such as Times Square,” said New York City Councilmember Julie Menin. “In this critical moment following “proper cause” being struck down for concealed carry arms, we must keep New Yorkers safe. As a former commissioner of the Department of Consumer Affairs, I made it a priority to investigate potentially illegal and unlicensed sales of secondhand guns in New York City, and we must continue to keep guns off our streets and use every tool in our toolbox.”

 

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Governor Newsom and President Biden Visit Communities Impacted

 

SANTA CRUZ COUNTY – Governor Gavin Newsom today welcomed President Joe Biden as he arrived in California to visit communities impacted by recent storms and meet with first responders leading recovery efforts.

“Over the past weeks, Californians have endured some of the deadliest and most destructive storms in recent memory, but our strength, resilience, and instinct to help in times of crisis has never faltered,” said Governor Newsom. “And President Biden and his Administration have been supporting us every step of the way – and I am grateful for the President’s commitment to helping California recover.”

President Biden’s visit began with an aerial tour led by Governor Newsom on Marine One, surveying damage across Santa Clara County and Santa Cruz County. Following the tour, they visited businesses in Capitola that were impacted by the recent winter storms and met with first responders at Seacliff State Beach.

 

 

Governor Newsom welcomes President Biden as he arrived in California to visit communities impacted by recent storms and meet with first responders leading recovery efforts.

Yesterday, the Governor announced that the White House added the counties of Monterey, San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara to the Presidential Major Disaster Declaration – with San Joaquin being added today.

FEMA and the President also announced a 100% federal cost share for Categories A (debris removal) and B (emergency protective measures). Last week, President Biden also approved the Governor’s request for a Presidential Emergency Declaration to bolster state, local and tribal government storm response efforts.

Over the past two weeks, Governor Newsom has met with evacuated residents in Merced County, assisted storm preparedness work in Santa Barbara County and surveyed storm damage in Santa Cruz County and Sacramento County with state and local officials. The Governor has proclaimed a state of emergency statewide and issued an executive order to further assist the emergency response and support impacted communities across the state.

 

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