REPORT: Violent crime wave causes big spike in NYC store owners arming themselves

Supermarket and bodega owners in New York City are fed up with violent crime in their city and they are now arming themselves for their own protection.

According to the New York Post, hundreds of large and small grocery store owners have applied for gun licenses and sought concealed carry classes in order to protect themselves and their employees.

Here’s more:

Hundreds of Big Apple supermarket and bodega owners are arming themselves as the epidemic of violent theft continues to plague their businesses.

Over the past year, the United Bodegas of America and the Bodega and Small Business Group said they’ve helped at least 230 store owners apply for their gun licenses, connecting them with concealed-carry classes required by the state to obtain a permit.

The National Supermarket Association, which represents roughly 600 independent grocers, estimated a quarter of its members in the city are packing heat, compared to 10% pre-pandemic.

“You see the necessity because the city is getting out of hand with the crime rate,” said one supermarket owner, who purchased a 9mm SIG Sauer handgun two months ago, after thieves cut a hole in the roof of his Ridgewood, Queens, store to steal $3,000 and smash up the registers and camera system.

“I feel safer having a . . . weapon with me,” the 50-year-old said, especially when going to the bank.

The gun-toting grocer said he hasn’t had to use his firearm, but practices once a week for the worst-case scenario where he needs to defend himself and his staff.

“I don’t know who is coming in, what I’ll confront, on my way in, on my way out,” he said.

Radhames Rodriguez, who owns several bodegas in the Bronx, said he purchased a 9mm Smith & Wesson pistol after obtaining his concealed-carry license two months ago.

“If I see somebody coming to me and I’m going to lose my life because somebody’s got a gun aimed at me, a knife, I need to protect myself and my family,” said Rodriguez, 60, who is also the UBA president.

Rodriguez said he previously had a “premises” gun permit to protect his business during the crime-ridden ’80s, but as the city cleaned up under the Giuliani and Bloomberg administrations, he let the license lapse.

With the recent wave of violence, “it started looking like in the ‘80s, the ‘90s,” he said. “That’s why I applied [for my new gun license], and this is why I have it.”

Many grocers have felt an increasing need to arm themselves partly because of slower police responses to their emergency calls, according to retired NYPD Sgt. Johnny Nunez, who leads 18-hour courses covering gun safety and live firearm training that are required by New York State for obtaining a concealed-carry permit.

“They recognize that there’s less cops on the street, they’re attending all these rallies, and [they] have to defend [themselves],” said Nunez, whose classes have been attended by many bodega and supermarket owners.

“Those factors, and the fact that crime is up [compared to pre-pandemic levels], that’s what’s driving them to at least feel protected,” he added.

I thought the new anti-crime mayor was supposed to do something about this out-of-control crime. I realize he’s been there only a year, but is he doing anything?

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