Local leaders discuss guns at houses of worship in wake of Pittsburgh synagogue massacre

NEW YORK -- Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams is standing by a statement he made on Sunday at a press conference addressing the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting, where he asked all off-duty officers to carry their weapons when they go to houses of worship.

“This is smart,” said Adams, who is a former NYPD captain. “This is reasonable. This is not radical.”

Adams said his opinion is not political in nature.

“I’m not a politician,” Adams said. “I’m a police officer. I view my life through the prism of saving innocent people.”

Former NYPD officer-turned rabbi Gary Moskowitz wants to take things a step further. He wants certain members of each congregation to train and become licensed to carry guns because he does not think armed guards are adequate.

“Anybody can say ‘have a peaceful sabbath’ or a restful sabbath, and walk in and start shouting and killing everybody here,” Moskowitz said. “We need people who know people. We know 98 percent of the people who show up already.”

Andrew Gounardes - a democrat running for state senate in Brooklyn - disagrees. Gounardes is currently on leave as Eric Adam’s staff attorney.

“When the police actually do arrive and see other people shooting guns, they’re going to be the first ones that are going to be shot at themselves,” Gounardes said.

His opponent - Republican Senator Marty Golden - agrees, but for different reasons.

“You can’t depend on somebody being off duty, being in a house of worship,” Golden said. “But, you can depend on a police officer being outside that house of worship, being there and doing his or her job to protect us as citizens.

A spokesperson for Mayor Bill De Blasio released the following statement to PIX 11:

“While we strongly agree with the Borough President that all New Yorkers deserve to pray in peace, the Mayor doesn’t believe more guns in our houses of worship will make us safer. We trust the security experts at the NYPD to keep our city safe.”

Ed Mullins, President of the NYPD Sergeant’s Benevolent Association, also released a statement to PIX 11:

“I believe Eric Adams is correct in his assertion to call upon all members of law enforcement to carry their firearms off duty. We live in a constant state of terrorism and active shooter and vehicle assaults have killed many people. What has terminated the threat in all these incidents is the arrival of police officers. The answer is simple. Ask any victim’s family member who was killed during any of these events, if they wished a retired or off duty police officer was present with their firearm and do they believe their family member may have had a chance to live?”