DA says gun charge dropped against NYC lawmaker seen with pistol at protest because gun did not work
Charges have been dropped against a New York City lawmaker who brought a gun to a protest because her weapon was apparently inoperable
By means ofThe Associated Press
November 17, 2023, 12:32 PM
NEW YORK — Charges have been dropped against a New York City lawmaker accused of bringing a gun to a protest because her weapon was inoperable, prosecutors said Friday.
City Councilwoman Inna Vernikov, a strongly pro-Israel Republican, was arrested on October 13 for bringing a gun to a demonstration at Brooklyn College in support of the Palestinians.
According to New York police, Vernikov was seen in photos and videos with the butt of a gun sticking out of her waistband during a counter-protest at the pro-Palestinian rally.
She was arraigned this month in Brooklyn Criminal Court on charges of possessing a weapon in a sensitive location.
Vernikov had a permit to carry a concealed weapon, but New York law prohibits even licensed gun owners from bringing weapons into certain sensitive locations, including protests and school grounds.
But after Vernikov surrendered her gun, police examined it and found it was missing the recoil spring assembly, rendering it inoperable, said Oren Yaniv, spokesman for the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office.
“To substantiate this charge, it must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt that the weapon in question was capable of firing bullets,” Yaniv said. “In the absence of such evidence, we have no choice but to dismiss these charges.”
Vernikov’s attorney, Arthur Aidala, said his client “is glad this is all behind us and looks forward to continuing her fight on behalf of all New Yorkers to keep this city the greatest city in the world.”