Here’s the scenario: You’re carrying a concealed firearm. Wisely, you have trained extensively on how and when you can use it in a self-defense scenario. While you’re walking home from work, a man comes up behind you, shoves you into an abandoned alley. He then sticks a snub-nosed revolver in your face and demands all your money and any other values you might have on you. This used to be a felony but now Manhattan will only prosecute armed robbery as a misdemeanor.
Manhattan Will Now Prosecute Armed Robbery as a Misdemeanor
Obviously, you have good reason to fear for your life. After all, you have extensive knowledge of handguns and ballistics. If he pulls that trigger while the gun is aiming at your face, you’re not likely to survive. In most areas of the country, you’d be perfectly justified in shoving his gun aside, pulling your own handgun, and defending your life with deadly force.
However, in New York City that’s not really the case. A concealed carry permit can take many years and even more money. However, in Manhattan, it is nearly impossible—unless you are very rich or have political connections. Basically, the only thing that prevents the above scenario from occurring more often than it does (which is a lot, with NYC seeing its worst violent crime wave in years in 2021), is a fear of an armed robbery conviction and spending 25 years in jail.
Well, hold on, Manhattanites! That deterrent is no longer in place. This, thanks to new Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s recent decision to prosecute armed robbery as a misdemeanor, moving forward.
In a memo to staff on his first day on the job, Bragg said his office “will not seek a carceral sentence” except with homicides and a handful of other cases, including domestic violence felonies, some sex crimes, and public corruption.
According to the memo, which was obtained by the New York Post: “Armed robbers who use guns or other deadly weapons to stick up stores and other businesses will be prosecuted only for petty larceny, a misdemeanor, provided no victims were seriously injured and there’s no ‘genuine risk of physical harm’ to anyone.”
Bad policy aside, Bragg shows his misguided position when he states that victims are in “no genuine risk of physical harm” when robbed by an assailant with a firearm. As previously mentioned, in most parts of the country, armed citizens can shoot and armed robber. That is if that citizen believes his or her life is in danger. Which isn’t hard to feel, with a gun shoved in your face! Gun safety dictates that when someone points a gun at you, you are facing a “genuine risk of physical harm.”
Armed robbery is a class B felony and is typically punishable by a maximum of 25 years in prison. Now, as a petty larceny charge, convicted armed robbers face up to 364 days in jail and a $1,000 fine. The state will then release them to endanger law-abiding citizens all over again.
Not Well Received
Not unexpectedly, many in law enforcement didn’t look upon Bragg’s new directive favorably.
“Police officers don’t want to be sent out to enforce laws that the district attorneys won’t prosecute,” Patrick Lynch, president of NYPD’s largest union, told the Post. “And there are already too many people who believe that they can commit crimes, resist arrest, interfere with police officers, and face zero consequences.”
Of course, making armed robbery a misdemeanor isn’t the only change Bragg made—just the most pathetic. He’s also dramatically downgrading charges for certain residential burglars, drug dealers, and convicted criminals caught with weapons.
The likely end result of a skyrocketing armed robbery rate might surprise Bragg. But it won’t surprise most who understand violent crime and the people who perpetrate such offenses. Manhattanites better get used to having guns stuck in their faces and their property stolen from them on the streets. Because that’s likely to happen a lot more often with Bragg in the DA’s office.