Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Tuesday declared a state of “disaster emergency” over gun violence across New York — and announced $138 million in new spending to try to stop the surge in shootings.
“Gun violence and crime should be the top priority for every mayor in this state because every city has been affected by it,” he said.
“It’s a matter of saving lives — and New York’s future depends on it.”
Speaking at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in Manhattan, Cuomo said that “people are not coming back to this city — they are not coming back to any city — until they know it’s safe.”
Cuomo made no mention of hiring more cops, although he said he wanted to “rebuild the police-community relationship.”
In a speech that at times sounded like a campaign pitch, the embattled, three-term Democrat unveiled a seven-point plan that includes treating gun violence like an “emergency public health issue” and using “data and science” to zero in on shooting “hotspots.”
Cuomo — who’s facing multiple probes tied to sex harassment allegations and the cover-up of nursing home deaths from COVID-19 — also said he would provide “positive engagement for at-risk youth,” including by creating summer jobs and funding arts and other social programs.
“We also want to form a council on gun-violence prevention, that gets your minds at the table to develop a strategy and the laws that we need to make a difference,” he said during an appearance
“Everything is on the table. We all want the same thing, and that’s what we’re going to do.”
At one point, Cuomo also went on a bizarre riff clearly aimed at former President Donald Trump, during which he jokingly outlined his “vision” of building a “magic” wall to stop traffickers from smuggling weapons into New York from southern states with less-restrictive gun laws.
“We build a tall, big — a beautiful wall. And we have the wall go for miles. And we have a little gold leaf up at the top of the wall, little gold shiny leaf. And then we put a big name across the wall, and the name, the name has five letters,” he said, grinning broadly.
“You know the name? I can see it. Can you see it? C-U-O-M-O. “
Tuesday’s declaration came 16 months after Cuomo announced a disaster emergency over the coronavirus pandemic that he lifted two weeks ago.
But he invoked that action by saying, “We’re in a new epidemic. It’s gun violence.”
“And you know what? It’s a matter of life and death, also.”
State Senate Minority Leader Rob Ortt (R-Lockport) blasted Cuomo for “declaring another emergency” just “days after finally relinquishing his emergency powers.”
“The crisis in cities across our state today directly correlates with the passage of the disastrous bail and other criminal justice ‘reforms,’ an out-of-control Parole Board that has released countless murderers and other dangerous criminals, and calls by Democrats to defund our police,” he said.
“These heinous acts of violence and the victims affected deserve real solutions — not political grandstanding.”
A spokesman for Mayor Bill de Blasio also sarcastically called it “encouraging to see today’s plan reflects what is in Safe Summer NYC, the comprehensive plan to fight back gun violence in New York City.”
“Unfortunately, the Governor did not mention state bills that support state parolees, who are disproportionately involved in New York City shootings,” spokesman Bill Neidhardt added.
“The Governor can and should take quick action to address that specific issue.”
Metro | New York Post