New York City Councilwoman Inna Vernikov Cleared of Gun Charge Due to Inoperable Firearm: District AttorneyNovember 17, 2023
City Councilwoman Inna Vernikov won’t face a criminal charge for bringing a gun to a pro-Palestine protest last month because the firearm was later determined to be “inoperable,” according to Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez’s spokesman. Vernikov, a Republican, was seen at an October 12 protest at Brooklyn College with a handgun clipped to her waistband. She lamented the protesters chanting “free Palestine” and made controversial comments about the demonstrators. Because of a state law enacted last year, it’s illegal to carry firearms at “sensitive locations,” including protests. Police later showed up at her house to take her permit and weapon, but the DA’s office is dropping the charge against Vernikov because the weapon she surrendered “was unloaded and missing the recoil spring assembly, rendering it inoperable.”
Despite the dismissal, the DA’s office chided Vernikov for bringing a gun to the protest, stating that it creates “an unacceptable risk of harm that has no place in our city.” Vernikov will have the charge formally thrown out during her next court hearing in January. Her attorney confirmed that her gun doesn’t work and expressed her pleasure at having the situation resolved.
Following Vernikov’s arrest, the City Council’s Ethics Committee launched a probe into her decision to carry a gun at the protest, and it remains unclear how the dismissal of Vernikov’s gun charge will impact the ethics inquiry.