Asked about taking guns from police officers, Wiley demurs.

Policing has been a major issue during the mayoral campaign, and it came up early in tonight’s debate, when Maurice DuBois asked candidates if they would move to take away guns from the city’s police officers.

None of the candidates seemed particularly enthusiastic about doing so: four of them — Kathryn Garcia, Andrew Yang, Scott M. Stringer and Eric Adams — said unequivocally that they would not.

Maya Wiley, who has sought to become the left’s standard-bearer and has made police reform a central tenet of her campaign, was the exception. She deferred, saying she was “not prepared to make that decision in a debate.”

Mr. Stringer, who has also courted support from left-leaning voters, was more direct, saying he would not take guns away from the police. But he acknowledged that violent crime in the city was rising, saying that when he grew up in the city, the “A train was a rolling crime scene,” a scenario he hoped to avert.

Mr. Adams, a former police officer, jumped off the imagery, invoking overnight shifts when he was on the transit beat.

“I will never forget riding the subway from 8:00 at night until 4:00 in the morning,” he said. “A woman on the train had a knife trying to stab someone, swinging wildly. I had to make a decision, do I draw my firearm with other passengers, or do I take action?”

Instead, he said, he wanted to see better training for police officers.

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