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New York City Mayor Eric Adams on Monday rejected calls from a Brooklyn bishop who was robbed of $1 million in jewelry for special gun permits for members of the clergy halfway through a sermon.
During an unrelated press conference announcing the expansion of the city’s speed camera program, Adams listened to a reporter’s question about Bishop Lamor Miller-Whitehead’s recent call to arm pastors and other clergy in the Big Apple. The reporter noted how Miller-Whitehead, who himself has a history of grievances and served jail terms for theft and grand theft, had suggested that criminal records should not be taken into account when issuing special gun permits for clergy.
“Do you think it’s a good idea that, like clerics, they get a special dispensation when it comes to gun licenses?” the reporter asked from off camera.
Adams replied bluntly, “no.” The mayor gave a brief laugh, then immediately left the stage to listen intently to another question from someone else about outdoor dining in the Big Apple lawsuits before returning to the microphone. Miller-Whitehead is an old friend of Adams.
FLASHY NYC BISHOP Robbed Of $1 Million Bizarre Repeats JEWELRY HEIST MID SERVICE
At a press conference of his own Friday outside Leaders of Tomorrow International Ministries in Canarsie, Brooklyn, Miller-Whitehead had called on state lawmakers to pass a law that would allow clergy to carry weapons to protect themselves and their congregations.
“They urgently need to pass a law that ministers of places of worship – everyone in the church staff – must have firearms licenses,” he said. “If the teachers can have it, we should be able to have it.”
“It doesn’t matter if we have a record, it should be exempt,” Miller-Whitehead added. “So we have to be able to carry weapons, as the Constitution says.”
This comes after police, according to Miller-Whitehead estimates, lost an estimated $1 million in jewelry when three masked gunmen stormed into his church while he was delivering a live-streamed sermon on July 24. On Sunday, the Gucci-clad bishop, known for his love of high-end designers, said bizarrely reenacted the crime for his congregants, spreading his body on the floor for dramatic effect, according to the New York Post. He has also denied that he sensationalized the heist for an alleged insurance scam.
During his press conference Friday, Miller-Whitehead pointed to President Biden and New York’s Democratic government Kathy Hochul to do more to protect places of worship, especially in areas like New York City, where gun violence is on the rise.
“I call on every elected official who has the power to protect houses of worship,” Miller-Whitehead said. “We need protection. We need you to empathize with us. We don’t get the luxury of having firearms. All we ask is to help us protect ourselves. Change a law where we can carry our firearms because this gun violence has gone to a new level.”
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New York has some of the strictest gun control measures in the country. In June, Hochul convened a special session of the state legislature after the Supreme Court scored a victory deemed a victory over the Second Amendment, which ruled New York State’s restrictions on concealed transportation licenses unconstitutional. She and other Democrats, including Adams, rejected the decision, arguing it would add to even more gun violence in the state already struggling with crime.