ALBANY – As crime in the state remains a main concern of New York residents, many are looking for relief from the ever-growing fear of gun violence.
“Everybody has a human right to live in safety. And not to have fear, because fear is paralyzing. Am I right about that? It’s debilitating,” says Hochul.
This is why Governor Kathy Hochul has made another push to combat gun violence in the state through $13.6 million in funding to be allocated to several prevention programs.
$9.1 million will be given to more than 30 nonprofit organizations and hospitals, so they can deploy gun violence intervention staff through 2023. $2 million will be allocated for the needs of victims, families and communities affected by violence in Queens. Finally, $2.5 million will fund the state’s Office of Gun Violence Prevention’s public awareness and data analysis work.
“So we have a gun violence epidemic here in the state of New York, full stop, that is a statement of fact,” says Hocuhl. “It’s a public health crisis. I don’t need to tell you that it also takes you down mentally, but also the people in a community.”
Investing in place-based strategies is the first approach in combating gun violence, according to Hochul. These are community programs that are designed to target those most at risk and create new opportunities.
“A lot of houses just don’t have the stability, kids don’t have an adult who actually can have the luxury of time to give them. I mean, a lot of people are working two jobs and they’re just trying to make ends meet trying to put food on the table. They may just not be there when their children, especially the middle school and the high school kids, need them the most. For them to see an adult who reaches out and pulls them in and mentors and that peer counseling, as they get older and say, you know, come on, man, you don’t have to do that. You don’t have to do that. Let me show you another path. That is what we’re talking about,” explains Hochul.
Hochul’s second approach is closing loopholes in gun laws, which is also aimed to keep law enforcement safe.
Overall, Hochul says she has tripled the funding of gun violence prevention from the state, which includes programs like SNUG as well as law enforcement training and crime analysis to track out of state weapons.
“People are bringing guns here from other states. I mean, where are they coming from? I’ll tell you right now, they’re not being sold on our streets,” claims Hochul. “Legally in a store, I mean. There’s no gun stores here. They’re coming in from other states. So we have to have the intelligence gathering and not work in silos where NYPD does their thing and New York State does theirs and New Jersey does theirs. I brought them all together. I said for the first time ever, we’re going to have nine states, nine states all around us who are all tracking together.”
Since last year, the state has seen an 8 percent decline in shootings according to Hochul.