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NY Post
New York Post
21 Oct 2023

NextImg:NYC pol Inna Vernikov’s gun arrest gave ammunition to rival, but also ‘boosted’ street cred

This City Council race is packing plenty of heat.

Pro-Israel Republican Councilwoman Inna Vernikov – who was arrested Oct. 12 for toting a firearm on her waistband while observing a pro-Palestinian rally – has given ammunition to her Democratic challenger Amber Adler in the race to represent Sheepshead Bay and other parts of southern Brooklyn.

But she has also boosted her street cred among die-hard Israel supporters, pundits say.

Both candidates are Jewish and running to represent the heavily Jewish 48th district, which had been a longtime blue seat before Vernikov flipped it red in the 2021 election.

Adler — who has ruffled feathers in the conservative district as a single mother of two running for office — is openly trying to capitalize on the Ukrainian-born Vernikov’s gun arrest and score an upset victory in the Nov. 7 general election.

Adler, 40, claims she’s a “true” public safety candidate people can trust, alleging the 39-year-old Vernikov thinks she’s “above the law.”

“I think she should put down the gun and pick up the phone for constituents,” quipped Adler, who finished a distant third in the 2021 Democratic primary for the same council seat.

Democratic challenger Amber Adler (pictured) claims Republican Councilwoman Inna Vernikov’s decision to bring a gun to a pro-Palestinian rally could spark hate crimes against fellow Jews.
Instagram @amberadlernyc

Vernikov’s camp insists Adler is fact-challenged and firing blanks.

Backers boasted Vernikov has devoted plenty of energy in office trying to push tough-on-crime legislation and opposing left-wing colleagues who cheered defunding the NYPD.

But Adler, whose top endorsements include the powerful United Federation of Teachers, said she believes Vernikov “greatly endangered every Jewish New Yorker” by bringing a gun to a protest.

“People are using this incident as a reason to hate Jews,” insisted Adler. “She’s fanning the flames of antisemitism.”

Vernikov’s campaign manager, David Storobin, said Adler “should be ashamed of herself” for “making such accusations.”

Councilwoman Inna Vernikov was arrested after being spotted carrying a gun on her a waistband at pro-Palestinian rally at CUNY’s Brooklyn College.
Paul Martinka
Brooklyn Councilwoman Inna Vernikov shows her support for Israel during a pro-Palestine rally at Brooklyn College on Oct. 12.
Paul Martinka

“It’s no wonder why she couldn’t get any support, not even from the Democrats, in any of her campaigns,” said Storobin, a former Republican state senator.

Despite calls from the far left for her to be removed from office over the gun incident, Vernikov continues to be endorsed by the Police Benevolent Association, Correction Officers’ Benevolent Association, and many of the top local law enforcement unions.

Some observers say the gun flap is helping Vernikov.

“Most of her district sees her as a hero now with the war going on in Israel,” said Hank Sheinkopf, a longtime Democratic political consultant.  “Many are conservative and have no problem with gun ownership.”

Vernikov, who has the Republican and Conservative lines, had outraised Adler in campaign funds as of Oct. 2 by more than 2 to 1: $269,390 to $132,271, according to their latest filings.

Vernikov has $71,262 on hand, and her campaign said that since her arrest she’s received another 22 yet-to-be-reported donations totaling over $10,000 and commitments from 15 other donors.

Adler’s campaign as of Oct. 2 was over $6,000 in debt.

Although Vernikov has a concealed carry permit, it’s illegal in New York to have a firearm at sensitive locations, such as protests or school grounds.

She was spotted with the gun while protesters convened on the campus of CUNY’s Brooklyn College.

Vernikov, a licensed gun owner, is an avid supporter of the Second Amendment, which protects the right to bear arms.
Stephen Yang
Amber Adler, an Orthodox Jewish single mother, is running as the Democratic nominee for the 48th District Council race after losing an earlier bid for the same post two years ago.
Instagram @amberadlernyc

City Council Speaker Adrienne Adams has referred Vernikov’s case to the standards and ethics committee, where Vernikov is a member and will have to recuse herself.

No action — which could include expulsion — is expected to be taken until her criminal case is concluded likely well after the election.

She was charged with criminal possession of a firearm and given a desk appearance ticket to appear in court at a later date.