Bodega owners in New York City are arming themselves for self-defense and store defense as crime continues to surge in the City.

The New York Post pointed to the National Supermarket Association, which indicated upwards of 25 percent of NYC bodega owners are armed as compared with roughly ten percent prior to coronavirus shutdowns.

Moreover, “the United Bodegas of America and the Bodega and Small Business Group said they’ve helped at least 230 store owners apply for their gun licenses, connecting them with concealed-carry classes required by the state to obtain a permit.”

On January 22, 2023, FOX 5 reported that bodega owners in the Bronx observed that crime was so bad they were “chaining up merchandise” to prevent it from being stolen.

The United Bodega Association’s Fernando Mateo explained that part of the problem is that criminals are confident they will not get punished.

He said, “NYPD is doing their job, they come when you call them and make arrests, but that person will usually get a desk appearance and nothing will happen because District Attorneys and judges are not willing to prosecute.”

In mid-2022 Mateo called on bodega owners to legally arm themselves.

FOX News quoted Mateo saying, “We want to make sure every bodega owner in New York City that is law-abiding, that feels the necessity to carry a licensed gun, to go and apply for it. Why? Because you need to be able to defend yourself.”

He noted that an armed bodega owner can protect himself in the moment prior to police reaching the scene: “When there’s a gun to your head, it’s very difficult to call 911 but if you survive that then call 911. If you are being assaulted or beaten up, there’s really no time to call 911, but after that happens, call 911.”

AWR Hawkins is an award-winning Second Amendment columnist for Breitbart News and the writer/curator of Down Range with AWR Hawkins, a weekly newsletter focused on all things Second Amendment, also for Breitbart News. He is the political analyst for Armed American Radio and a Turning Point USA Ambassador. He was a Visiting Fellow at the Russell Kirk Center for Cultural Renewal in 2010, a speaker at the 2023 Western Conservative Summit, and he holds a Ph.D. in Military History, with a focus on the Vietnam War (brown water navy), U.S. Navy since Inception, the Civil War, and Early Modern Europe. Follow him on Instagram: @awr_hawkins. You can sign up to get Down Range at Reach him directly at