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In The Wake Of Deadly 4th Of July Weekend, Cuomo Declares Gun Violence Emergency

N.Y. Gov. Andrew Cuomo announces the declaration of a state of emergency for gun violence.
Image Courtesy the Office of Governor Andrew Cuomo
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N.Y. Gov. Andrew Cuomo announces the declaration of a state of emergency for gun violence.

Governor Andrew Cuomo has declared a state of emergency to address an uptick in gun violence across New York and the rest of the country.

Cuomo said he wants to spend $138 million to treat gun violence like a public health emergency. This comes less than a month after the state let a similar emergency over the COVID-19 pandemic expire.

“We want to do with gun violence what we just did with COVID. That’s what we want. We want the same level of attention; the same level of energy,” Cuomo said.

The state plans to create a council to offer recommendations on ways to target hotspots based on law enforcement data.

This includes community programs and job training for at-risk young men of color who Cuomo said are involved in nearly half of all gun violence in the state.

Cuomo said his goal is to get guns off the street and out of the hands of at-risk people. He said that involves rebuilding the relationship between police and their communities with reforms to better respond to mental health and substance use disputes that end in gun violence.

“When all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail. You only have one tool. Well, when — you know what — when all you have are cuffs and a gun then the only thing that amounts to is an arrest. That is all you have and all you can do. That does not work anymore,” Cuomo said.

He wants to prevent illegal guns getting into New York by sharing traffic stop data with neighboring states and local law enforcement to keep illegal gun smugglers out.

“We know where they are coming from. They are coming from the South and we are going to declare a border war to stop it,” Cuomo said.

He said the emergency declaration allows the state to increase funding for these programs.

A native Long Islander, J.D. is WSHU's managing editor. He also hosts the climate podcast Higher Ground. J.D. reports for public radio stations across the Northeast, is a journalism educator and proud SPJ member.