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Morning Spew

Inna’s Got a Gun (and Now a Criminal Charge)

And some decidedly less criminal links for your Friday.

(CUNY Students for Justice in Palestine Twitter account)

Republican Councilmember Inna Vernikov loves guns. The rep from Brooklyn has a concealed carry permit, and reportedly brings her gun to her local synagogue

"As much as we need the police, we can’t just rely on the police. Something life-altering can happen in the time it takes for cops to arrive," she told the New York Post last month about why she arms herself out in public. 

On Thursday, Vernikov decided to bring her handgun to a rally held near Brooklyn College by Students for Justice in Palestine, in what certainly looks like a move meant to intimidate teenagers who are exercising their First Amendment rights. (According to the City Council's website, Vernikov's district doesn't include Brooklyn College.)

In a statement Vernikov released on Thursday, she wrote that at the rally, any students who felt unsafe could approach her, and that she would "help."

In a video she posted of herself at the Brooklyn College rally, which she described as a "pro-Hamas" gathering, she stated she was there to make sure that "Jewish students feel safe today." She repeated the unconfirmed claims that, as she put it, "babies are being beheaded" in Israel, before adding, "If you are here today standing with these people, you are nothing short of a terrorist without the bombs."

It turns out Vernikov was breaking some laws. On Friday morning, the councilmember was arrested by the NYPD. Via the Daily News: 

According to police sources, NYPD contacted Vernikov after the protest and told her to turn herself in on a criminal possession of a weapon charge. Joined by her lawyer, she was booked on that charge at the 70th Precinct shortly before 3 a.m. Friday and released with a desk appearance ticket, sources told The News.

It's a little unclear what exactly Vernikov is being charged with. The NYPD's press shop told Hell Gate she was being charged with "criminal possession of a weapon," but declined to state the degree of the charge, which would determine whether it was a felony or a misdemeanor. According to one attorney interviewed by City & State, Vernikov could have violated a recently passed law that makes the possession of a firearm at so-called "sensitive locations," including "any gathering of individuals to collectively express their constitutional rights to protest or assemble," a class E felony.

And some perfectly legal links: 

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