New York Governor Declares Gun Violence Emergency

New York: Governor of New York Andrew Cuomo has issued the first-in-the-nation Executive Order declaring gun violence in New York as a Disaster Emergency — the first step in a comprehensive plan that aims to tackle the surge in gun violence throughout the state.

“We have to get illegal guns off the streets and we have to get illegal guns out of the hands of people and we have to rebuild the community,” Governor Cuomo said. “Treat it like a public health issue. We know how to deal with an epidemic and what we want to say is, we want to treat gun violence like we did with COVID.”

This is the first step in a comprehensive plan Cuomo outlined composed of 7 key areas — all with the aim of quelling the gun violence surge. The key areas are:

  1. Treat gun violence like the emergency public health it is;
  2. Target hotspots with data and science;
  3. Positive engagement for at-risk youth;
  4. Break the cycle of escalating violence;
  5. Get illegal guns off the streets;
  6. Keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people;
  7. Rebuild the police-community relationship

According to officials from the governor’s office, this measure:

  • Officially declares gun violence as a disaster emergency
  • Requires Division of Criminal Justice Services to gather and share incident-level data from local police departments on gun violence
  • Creates an office of gun violence prevention to coordinate efforts and direct resources to emerging gun violence hotspots
  • Invests $138.7 million in intervention, prevent, and jobs programs to engage at-risk youth and get young people off the streets
  • Creates new state police gun trafficking interdiction unit to stop the flow of illegal guns into the state
  • Partners with John Jay College of Criminal Justice to strengthen police-community relations

The governor said the state’s plan to reduce gun violence includes both short and long term initiatives.

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