Governor Andrew Cuomo had to intervene and on Tuesday he declared a new state of emergency to tackle gun violence. The advent of the pandemic brought with it another wave of trouble for New Yorkers. Gun violence surged to an all-time high, with a 75% rise in shootings in some of the largest cities in the state. The easing of the pandemic has not done much to ease the shooting though.
He allocated funds of around $139M to tackle the rising shootouts and murders that show no signs of abating. Governor Andrew Cuomo’s emergency disaster declaration, which he termed another ‘epidemic’, is perhaps the first by a state to tackle gun violence. The gun control measures empower officials in New York to gather resources quickly and act to control the violence.
Andrew Cuomo Pins New York’s Future On The Gun-Control Measures
Andrew Cuomo’s declaration will also allow officials to provide funds to community-led initiatives to respond to gun violence and prevent it. The Governor said that gun violence was a civil rights injustice and primarily affected the poor Latino and Black communities.
The youths from these communities were three times more likely to be victims of gun violence than whites. But he also added that the new plague was affecting all New Yorkers and must be addressed if the state was to recover from the aftereffects of the pandemic.
Governor Andrew Cuomo said that though it was the task of the local authorities to tackle gun violence, the extent of the problem had forced the state to intervene. In the first week of July alone, 51 people were shot in New York State while just 19 people died of the virus.
There had been over 1,500 shootings in New York in 2020, double the figures of the previous year. The unprecedented level of violence is at its highest since the beginning of the century. There have been 765 incidents with 886 people shot in July. The figures were down in June but remained much higher than the 2019 figures.
Other cities facing similar levels of gun violence include Buffalo, Portland, Minneapolis, Philadelphia, Rochester, and Los Angeles.
Governor Cuomo spoke about the ‘destabilizing impact’ of the disruptions on work and schools caused by the pandemic and tied it with the spurt in gun violence. His new 7-point plan will empower the Criminal Justice Services department to collect data on gun violence from local police stations every week instead of once a month. This will allow them to react faster in areas most affected.
Fresh legislation signed by the Governor will also allow firing victims to sue firearm manufacturers.