Brooklyn’s district attorney has dropped firearms charges against a Republican New York City councilwoman who brought, but never brandished, a legally owned gun to a protest where she criticized pro-Palestinian demonstrators last month.
Councilwoman Inna Vernikov posted a video of herself to X, formerly known as Twitter, on October 12 explaining that she showed up to oppose pro-Palestinian protesters at Brooklyn College and to make sure Jewish students “feel safe.”‘
“Here they are, screaming and yelling, ‘Intifada! Globalize the Intifada!’ when Jewish women, children, Holocaust survivors and babies are being beheaded, slaughtered and massacred,” she said. “This is what they’re doing. They’re protesting, supporting Hamas.”
She said that anyone supporting Hamas is “nothing short of a terrorist without the bombs.”
After images emerged showing a gun in her waistband, she voluntarily surrendered to the NYPD and was charged with unlawful possession of a firearm – a charge that prosecutors dropped on Friday.
“Councilwoman Vernikov has an outstanding reputation serving her constituency, which since her re-election, she will continue to do for the next two years,” her defense lawyer, Arthur Aidala of Aidala, Bertuna and Kamins, told Fox News Digital. “She is pleased to have this all behind her and looks forward to continuing her fight on behalf of all New Yorkers to keep this City the greatest city in the world.”
Under New York law, the gun would have had to be capable of firing bullets for Vernikov to have broken the law. It wasn’t, because not only was it not loaded, but key components had been removed.
“Peaceful protest is the right of every American, but bringing a gun to a protest is illegal and creates an unacceptable risk of harm that has no place in our city,” a spokesperson told Fox News Digital. “The firearm recovered by the NYPD in this case was unloaded and missing the recoil spring assembly, rendering it inoperable, according to the NYPD’s lab report.”
Even legally owned firearms are banned from certain locations in New York state, including schools and at any gathering where demonstrators are exercising their First Amendment rights.
“The Councilwoman was at the location observing a pro-Palestine protest which was taking place, and in the course of doing so, the Councilwoman was observed with the butt-end of a firearm (handgun) protruding from the front portion of her pants,” the NYPD said in October. “This image was disseminated on social media, per photos taken at the scene by various individuals.”
Police said that at no point did she hurt or menace anyone.
Fox News’ Greg Norman contributed to this report.