NYC Councilwoman Inna Vernikov Charged After Openly Carrying Gun at Protest – US 247 News

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A Republican councilwoman from Brooklyn was arrested and charged with criminal possession of a firearm after images were posted to social media of her carrying a gun on her waist at a pro-Palestinian rally Thursday at Brooklyn College.

The councilwoman, Inna Vernikov, who represents the southern Brooklyn neighborhood of Brighton Beach, turned herself into at the 70th Precinct with her lawyer at 2:50 am Friday, according to a police spokesperson.

Ms. Vernikov, who is licensed to carry a gun, surrendered her gun and her permit, police officials said.

“She was at the pro-Palestine protest that was taking place,” the representative said. “In the course of doing so, the councilwoman was observed with the butt end of a firearm.”

New York issues permits to carry only concealed firearms; openly carrying a firearm is not allowed.

Ms. Vernikov, who had expressed opposition to the Brooklyn College rally, did not immediately respond to a call and a text message seeking comment. Joseph Borelli, the City Council’s minority leader, said that Ms. Vernikov had received a desk appearance ticket.

“There’s a responsibility that comes with owning a firearm, and she’ll have to address these charges with the court,” Mr. Borelli said in an interview. “I know she is sorry about what happened.”

Writing on X, formerly known as Twitter, in response to the news of Ms. Vernikov’s arrest, Gov. Kathy Hochul said on Friday that “New York’s gun safety laws apply to everyone.”

The attack by Hamas on Israel last Saturday and Israel’s subsequent bombardment of Gaza have inflamed political tensions in New York City, which has the largest Jewish population outside of Israel. A pro-Palestinian rally in Times Square on Sunday that was promoted by New York’s chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America brought condemnation from moderate Democrats and Republicans and was criticized by leading politicians on the left.

Ms. Vernikov, a Ukrainian-born lawyer who describes herself in her City Council biography as “a leading voice against antisemitism,” posted video of herself at the rally saying that the protesters supported Hamas.

“If you’re here today standing with these people, you’re nothing short of a terrorist without the bombs,” Ms. Vernikov said in a video posted on social media.

Chelsia Rose Marcius contributed reporting.