At a presentation Tuesday, Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo declared a “disaster emergency” on gun violence in New York and issued an executive order expediting funding to address the problem, which he called a new “epidemic.”
In a tweet just before the conference, Cuomo wrote, “Gun violence is a public health crisis, and we must treat it like one. This declaration will allow us to give this crisis the full attention & resources it deserves.” He mentioned at the briefing that the state has pledged 138 million dollars for the initiative.
Speaking to the audience, Cuomo confirmed all the executive and legislative actions the state is undertaking to combat rising crime in the state.
He praised the state legislature, as well as the lobbying of advocacy groups like the NAACP, for passing laws that target gun manufacturers and close the “Trump loophole” that he claimed placed guns in the hands of dangerous people.
“Not everyone should be allowed to purchase a gun,” the governor stated. “If you have an active warrant you cannot buy a gun in the state of New York.”
Cuomo insisted that restoring community trust in law enforcement can only happen with police reform. He touted past achievements in successfully forcing localities with police departments to adopt changes.
“Policing hasn’t evolved for 50 years,” he said. “It’s time we reimagine and reinvent and we do it together.”
Cuomo stated the importance of bringing “all the stakeholders” to the table, including service providers, local police, local leadership, clergy, community organizations, and other bodies to coordinate planning and implementation.
Acknowledging that too often police respond to non-violent 911 calls, many of which are mental health incidents, Cuomo said New York needs more community-based services.
Thousands of people evacuated New York during the pandemic to escape violent crime and punitive COVID lockdowns. Crime has skyrocketed in multiple American cities in recent weeks, but the defund the police and gun control movements have still maintained their popularity in many of them.
In his address, the governor seemed to recognize that business activity and tourism cannot recover until people feel that the state is a hospitable environment to live.
“Gun violence and crime should be the top priority for every mayor in this state,” he said. “New York’s future depends on it. People are not coming back to this city until they know it’s safe.”
In addition to the gun violence and lawlessness plaguing his state, the embattled governor also faces investigations into multiple high-profile scandals with accompanying calls for his resignation and impeachment. Cuomo’s political quagmires now include accusations that his administration fudged COVID nursing home death data, that he unlawfully appropriated state funds and resources for his multi million-dollar book deal, and that he sexually harassed staffers while in office.