Three days ago, Gawker.com published a database of city gun permit holders along with a profane screed against the celebrities and One-Percenters having guns. But Gawker failed to notice a listing for one Alphonso Bernard. In an instant, I knew who it was.
A quick search of the state police pistol permit database confirmed my hunch. The carry-business permit is registered to Rev. A.R. Bernard – one of seven GOP candidates running for Mayor – at 1400 Linden Blvd, the former address of Christian Cultural Center.
[Note: The database contains only pistol permit records as of April 5, 2010. Long guns permits are not included- UPDATED]
Rev. Bernard’s bio states that in 1996, he had a beef with Minister Louis Farrakhan and the Nation of Islam (of which Bernard is a former member) and that “coincidentally,” his home was strafed with gunfire. Arrests were never made.
Gun ownership and who gets a coveted city gun permit –-which is renewable every 3-5 years— is controversial. Weapons are even more controversial in the aftermath of the mass shooting in Newtown, CT.
In reaction, the Westchester-based Journal News made the controversial decision to post an online interactive map of legal gun owners in Westchester and Rockland Counties. That prompted Gawker.com to post the publicly available State Police permit database. Both actions have added to the public discourse about guns in society.
The city gun permit database reads like a Who’s Who In New York, although most permit holders are current or retired law enforcement.
Generally, missing from that database are shopkeepers in the city’s toughest neighborhoods. Meanwhile, wealthy New Yorkers, such as Donald Trump and Ron Lauder, need a gun when they can obviously afford private security and ADT. But bodegueros and livery car drivers remain at the mercy of thugs and the timely arrival of EMS.
So, when Rev. Bernard appeared recently on NY1 (the same day as the Gawker.com post) to discuss his decision to run for Mayor, I fully expected Errol Louis to ask about his position regarding gun control or whether he owned a gun. When he didn’t, I yelled at the television, “Ask if he owns a gun or has ever owned one.”
Instead Louis asked the standard “gotcha” questions about abortion and same-sex marriage. Rev. Bernard deftly answered the questions by citing his respect for the law.
I look forward to learning more about Rev. Bernard’s views on a variety of issues: education reform, comprehensive sex education, job retention and creation, mass transit, crime control, etc.
In the event that he fails in his bid to become Mayor, I’m sure he’d be a shoo-in for mayor of Charming, the fictional California hometown of the FX hit series, Sons of Anarchy.
- EDITORIAL: Gawker Publishes Names of CCW Permit Holders in NYC (VIDEO) (guns.com)
- Is There A Market In New York City For A Black Republican Mayoral Candidate? (bookerrising.net)
- NYC gun owners named on Gawker (politico.com)