New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo called the rash of gun violence the state has seen in the past year a disaster on Tuesday and said he was declaring an emergency to address the situation.
In his remarks before an audience at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York City, the three-term governor laid out a seven-point plan to build a safer state.
“Enough is enough,” he said toward the end of his 50-minute speech. “There’s enough blood. There’s enough carnage. There’s enough young people dying. We’re going to stand up. We’re going to solve it. New York is going to lead the way. We don’t care if no one else has done it, we’re going to show you that there’s no problem we can’t solve.”
The governor did not take questions from reporters at the event.
The rash of violence began last summer as the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic subsided. While preliminary national figures from the FBI have shown an overall decline in violent crime, the murder rate though did jump nationally in 2020 by 25%.
As the governor explained, the state went from one crisis to another. Over the past holiday weekend, 51 people in New York were shot and killed, compared to 13 who died from the coronavirus.
As Cuomo has touted his plan to revitalize the state’s economy as New York moves past the COVID-19 emergency, he has said repeatedly that public safety must be a cornerstone element of that plan. People will not return to New York City, he’s stated, if they don’t believe it’s safe.
Among the steps the state will take as part of this emergency will be to create an office of gun violence prevention in Albany, which will receive incident data from the major law enforcement agencies across the state. That information will then be used to help state officials allocate resources when and where needed.
The New York State Police will create a new gun trafficking unit that will be tasked with stopping illegal weapons from entering New York.
Cuomo also signed legislation that would allow gun manufacturers to be sued and a bill that prevents individuals with active warrants from purchasing a gun legally.
Issuing a disaster declaration will allow the state to spend money and allocate resources in a more expeditious manner. Among the investments New York will make include spending $138.7 million on intervention and prevention programs.
Republicans in Albany and across the state took aim at Cuomo’s decision, saying that policies enacted over recent years meant to overhaul the justice system have instead made the state less safe.
Senate Republican Leader Rob Ortt, R-North Tonawanda, said in a statement the governor’s action smacked of political grandstanding.
“The crisis in cities across our state today directly correlates with passage of the disastrous bail and other criminal justice ‘reforms,’ an out-of-control parole board that has released countless murderers and other dangerous criminals and calls by Democrats to defund our police,” Ortt said.
This article was originally posted on Cuomo declares new emergency in New York over gun violence