Following a weekend of chaos and six months of escalating gun violence, Gov. Andrew Cuomo has issued the first-in-the-nation Executive Order declaring gun violence in New York as a Disaster Emergency.
The disaster emergency declaration will enable the state to address the gun violence crisis by directing funds and resources to communities so that they can begin combating gun violence immediately.
In addition, he stated that the state will establish a new gun-violence prevention office within the state Health Department, require police agencies to better report where shootings occur, and form a new gun violence reduction council.
Cuomo’s decision to combat the rise in gun violence in New York comes at a critical point after the New York Post reported that 26 people were shot in 21 separate incidents between Friday and Sunday. Three more were shot early Monday morning.
“We went from one epidemic to another epidemic. We went from COVID to the epidemic of gun violence. And the fear and the death that goes along with it,” Cuomo said. “When you look at the recent numbers, more people are dying of gun violence than of COVID … we’re losing young people.”
The executive order will invest $138.7 million in prevention, intervention, and employment programs for at-risk youth, including a $57 million investment in local, city, and state agencies to create 21,000 summer jobs for youth.
Cuomo signed two bills pertaining to firearm sales and gun manufacturers shortly after making his announcement on Tuesday afternoon.
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
According to the governor’s office, the first bill allows anybody to file a lawsuit against a gun manufacturer based on the claim that the product causes a “public nuisance.” The press release notes that products created by gun manufacturers can be designated public nuisances “even if the gun maker did not intend to damage the public.”
“This legislation will allow for a lawsuit to be brought in cases where reasonable controls and procedures are not in place, ensuring that responsible manufacturers and dealers will not be held accountable for the actions of criminal actors,” the announcement continues.
The second law prohibits anyone who has a warrant to purchase a firearm “felony or serious offense.”
The second piece of legislation makes it illegal for anyone with an outstanding warrant for “a felony or serious offense” to purchase a firearm.
Many residents have described the new legislation as a complete reversal of the city’s original proposal. Last month, protesters demanded that the New York City Council follow through on its promise to cut $1 billion from the NYPD budget. The New York City Council voted on the proposed budget in June 2020, saying “yes” to the reallocation. Mayor Bill de Blasio and New York City Council Speaker Corey Johnson reached an agreement to reduce the NYPD’s $6 billion operating budget. Now it appears that their promise to voters has returned to haunt them and cost them hundreds of lives.
This is nothing more than an attempted back door attack on our second amendment.
— Bernard B. Kerik (@BernardKerik) July 7, 2021
The 40th Police Commissioner of the New York Police Department, Bernard Kerik, slammed Cuomo’s announcement and described the new legislation as “nothing more than an attempted back door attack on our second amendment.”
“The governor, prosecutors, and mayor are responsible for the increases in violent crime, shootings, and murder. #failedleadership.” he continued.