Describing the shootings as a “public health crisis,” Cuomo said the “declaration will allow us to give this crisis the full attention [and] resources it deserves.”
The state will target areas that have frequent shootings and homicides—which Democrat officials often refer to as “gun violence”—by using the same model used to deal with COVID-19, Cuomo said.
That entails treating shootings like a public health emergency, targeting crime hotspots, curbing the sale of illegal firearms, rebuilding trust between communities and local law enforcement, and other initiatives. The state will require large police departments such as the New York City Police Department (NYPD) to submit “incident-level data” on shootings so hotspots can be tracked.
“If you can beat COVID, you can beat gun violence,” the Democrat governor remarked. “We’re in a new epidemic, and it’s gun violence, and it’s a matter of life and death also.”
It would also create a new state agency, the Governor’s Council on Gun Violence Reduction, which will facilitate coordination between state and local governments responding to shootings and crime.
Cuomo’s order also creates a summer jobs program for at-risk youths in designated hotspots. In New York City, about 0.7 percent of the at-risk youth have carried out 36 percent of the shootings, the governor added. He didn’t provide a source for the claim during the news conference.
“We have to create jobs to keep these kids off the streets. New York State will pay 100 percent of the salary. We just want them to get training and a place to go,” he added Tuesday. “So they see a future.”
New York state has already some of the strictest gun-control laws in the United States. While no permit is required for the purchase of a shotgun or rifle, residents need one to purchase and carry a pistol. Magazines that hold more than 10 rounds are also barred from being purchased or owned in the state.
The U.S. Supreme Court later this year is expected to hear arguments on a major, National Rifle Association (NRA)-backed lawsuit that challenges New York state laws that restrict individuals from carrying concealed handguns in public.
And New York City, meanwhile, has among the strictest gun laws in the country. To own a shotgun or rifle, a New York City resident needs a permit issued by the city.
But despite the strict gun laws, at least 26 people were shot across New York City over the Fourth of July weekend, said an NYPD spokesperson in reports carried by local media.
Meanwhile, five people were shot in three separate shootings in Syracuse, a city located in Upstate New York, over the same time period, officials said. There were shootings also reported in Buffalo, Long Island, Rochester, and elsewhere in the state since last Friday, according to local news stations.