New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has signed an executive order declaring gun violence a disaster emergency, the first step in a comprehensive plan to curb guns in the state.
Cuomo, who made the announcement at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, said the emergency status will allow the state to use money and resources to target gun violence immediately.
“If you look at the recent numbers, more people are now dying from gun violence and crime than COVID–this is a national problem but someone has to step up and address this problem because our future depends on it,” Cuomo said during the announcement.
Gun violence is a public health crisis.
Today I announced a strategy to combat gun violence in both the short and long term using a public-health approach.
Learn more ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/MtjZrfN9E2
— Andrew Cuomo (@NYGovCuomo) July 6, 2021
The strategy will inject more than $138 million in intervention and prevention programs, including engaging at-risk youth, summer job opportunities, and community activity programs.
Cuomo outlined seven key moves to stop the surge of gun violence:
- Treat gun violence like the emergency public health it is
- Target hotspots with data and science
- Positive engagement for at-risk youth
- Break the cycle of escalating violence
- Get illegal guns off the streets
- Keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people
- Rebuild the police-community relationship
In order to coordinate the plan, Cuomo has announced the creation of the Office of Gun Violence Prevention and is requiring major police departments to share data on gun violence with the New York Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) to compile the data weekly.
The data will be used by the Office of Gun Violence Prevention to track gun violence hotspots and deploy resources to those areas, according to NBC 4.
Additionally, a new State Police Gun Trafficking Interdiction Unit has also been created to stop illegal guns from coming into New York from states with weak gun laws.
“We’re building New York back better than ever before, but part of rebuilding is addressing the systemic injustices that were exposed by COVID. If you look at the recent numbers, more people are now dying from gun violence and crime than COVID–this is a national problem but someone has to step up and address this problem because our future depends on it,” Cuomo said.
Cuomo also signed a bill allowing victims of gun violence to sue gun manufacturers under the state’s public nuisance laws and a second measure banning residents with active warrants from buying guns.
Gun violence has increased in the city. In the first six months of 2020, there were 528 shooting incidents and 636 shooting victims. In the first six months of this year, at least 687 people were wounded or killed by gunfire.