Open carry in NY? Group of Orthodox Jews reportedly spotted with rifles on streets of Rockland County

(Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Violent anti-Semitism in New York is at crisis-level, with attacks clearly on the rise. According to pictures that surfaced on social media, some Jews are understandably taking it upon themselves to arm up to defend themselves and their community, in spite of draconian gun laws that aim to leave law-abiding citizens at the mercy of criminals.

New York is home to more Jews than anyplace outside of Israel. The latest obvious hate crime against Orthodox Jews took the form of a mass stabbing on Saturday at a Hanukkah celebration at a rabbi’s home in Monsey, about 30 minutes north of New York City.

The next day, images emerged on social media showing a small group of Jews in Rockland County open carrying rifles, with some Twitter users challenging authorities to charge the brave souls who are stepping up against the growing threat.


According to Bearing Arms, it is extremely difficult to get a concealed carry license in NYC, with only about 4000 issued to carry in the five boroughs. The site points out that it is easier to become an NYPD officer than to get a CCW permit, as there are 36,000 on the police force … obviously not enough to protect vulnerable citizens.

According to the Daily News, by the end of August this year, anti-Semitic attacks were up 66% over the previous year, to 133. More than half of all hate crimes reported to the NYPD are against Jewish people.

In one reported example, four months ago a 63-year-old rabbi, Abraham Gopin, was jogging through his neighborhood when he was struck by a huge paving stone, knocking out his front teeth, breaking his nose, and leaving a forehead gash requiring staples. “Then, he jumped on me and started to fight with me, trying to knock me in the face — probably, I would say, 20, 25, 30 times with his fists … He said ‘Jew, Jew.’ He said something in that direction,” Gopin told reporters. “He was for certain looking to kill.”

Following that attack, Seth Mandel, executive editor of the Washington Examiner, posted a series of tweets about the need for Jews in NY to arm themselves, a few of which follow here …

In spite of some trying to use the attacks for political purposes by blaming Trump supporters, Tablet magazine reported in August that the attacks are not driven by political issues:

[Mayor] De Blasio has also repeatedly insisted that the attacks against Jews in New York are driven by a white supremacist movement connected to Donald Trump despite clear evidence that this is not the case and, in fact, many of the attacks are being carried out by people of color with no ties to the politics of white supremacy.

On the national level, discussions of anti-Semitism rage without apparent reference to the violence in Brooklyn, which defies any easy categorization, has little apparent relationship with national politics or political figures, and involves members of racial minority groups rather than white nationalists or other more expedient villains.

An editorial updated and posted yesterday in the Jewish Press urged its readers: “Jews need to arm themselves – legally, of course – and master the art of knowing how to use that weapon. Men and women must do whatever it takes to secure a license for a firearm and patrol the shuls and schools in our neighborhoods. … We need to stop being naïve and innocent: anti-Semitism always was and always will be, and in most places across the world it’s getting worse.”


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Victor Rantala


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