New York Governor Kathy Hochul has announced $18.2 million in funding to support law enforcement agencies that participate in New York State’s Gun Involved Violence Elimination initiative (GIVE), the largest state investment in the program since its inception in 2014. GIVE uses evidence-based strategies to reduce shootings and save lives in 20 communities in 17 counties hardest hit by gun violence. Governor Hochul also issued a proclamation designating June as Gun Violence Awareness Month in New York State.
“Over the past few weeks, we have seen gun violence cause unimaginable pain, suffering and loss for individuals, neighborhoods, and our entire nation,” Governor Hochul said. “In honor of Gun Violence Awareness Month, we must double down on our commitment to stop the senseless and tragic killing of our friends, loved ones and neighbors. That is why I am proud to have worked closely with the Legislature, which passed historic and comprehensive legislation yesterday to create even tougher gun laws and end the gun violence epidemic — bills that I look forward to signing in the coming days. While we have made progress, I will continue to work with lawmakers to act decisively and invest in programs like GIVE that will make our communities safer for everyone.”
New York State Office of Gun Violence Prevention Director Calliana S. Thomas said, it would take a collective from a multitude of state agencies, community organizations and local leaders, law enforcement and the criminal justice system to solve the complex problems surrounding gun violence. “We need to get guns off the street, engage youth with positive mentoring programs, focus on community-based intervention and prevention strategies, and rebuild the police-community relationship. We can do this.”
Hochul’s and Thomas’ comments on June 3, the state’s Gun Violence Awareness Day, follow President Biden’s pleas on June 2 to act now to prevent further gun violence.
“We need to ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. And if we can’t ban assault weapons, then we should raise the age to purchase them from 18 to 21,” Biden said, adding that background checks must also be strengthened alongwith a need for safe storage laws and red-flag laws. “Repeal the immunity that protects gun manufacturers from liability,” Biden said. “Address the mental health crisis deepening the trauma of gun violence and as a consequence of that violence.”
Biden said he believes in treating responsible gun owners as an example of how every gun owner should behave. “I respect the culture and the tradition and the concerns of lawful gun owners. There have always been limitations on what weapons you can own in America. For example, machine guns have been federally regulated for nearly 90 years. And this is still a free country.
“This isn’t about taking away anyone’s rights. It’s about protecting children. It’s about protecting families. It’s about protecting whole communities. It’s about protecting our freedoms to go to school, to a grocery store, and to a church without being shot and killed.
“Why in God’s name should an ordinary citizen be able to purchase an assault weapon that holds 30-round magazines that let mass shooters fire hundreds of bullets in a matter of minutes?”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, guns are the number one killer of children in the U.S. Moreover, in the last two decades, more school-aged children have died from guns than on-duty police officers and active-duty military combined.
“The House of Representatives has already passed key measures we need,” Biden said. “Expanding background checks to cover nearly all gun sales, including at gun shows and online sales. Getting rid of the loophole that allows a gun sale to go through after three business days even if the background check has not been completed. And the House is planning even more action next week. Safe storage requirements. The banning of high-capacity magazines. Raising the age to buy an assault weapon to 21. Federal red-flag law. Codifying my ban on ghost guns that don’t have serial numbers and can’t be traced. And tougher laws to prevent gun trafficking and straw purchases.
“This time, we have to take the time to do something. And this time, it’s time for the Senate to do something.”