New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Tuesday declared a “disaster emergency” to combat growing levels of “gun violence” in the state. Much like the emergency declarations in response to COVID-19, the declaration gives Cuomo more power and money to impose rules and regulations on New York residents.
“Just like we did with COVID, New York is going to lead the nation once again with a comprehensive approach to combating and preventing gun violence, and our first step is acknowledging the problem with a first-in-the-nation disaster emergency on gun violence,” Cuomo said. “When we see an injustice we don’t look the other way, we stand up and fight it because that’s the New York way.”
Gun-rights groups were quick to point out that New York’s response to COVID-19 was abysmal. New York saw the second most deaths per 100,000 residents of any state, and Cuomo is currently being investigated for how he handled nursing home patients who were diagnosed with the disease.
“Since he brought it up, Cuomo’s incompetence in dealing with rising violent crime is as bad as how he botched the coronavirus outbreak by putting COVID-19 patients in nursing homes,” said Alan Gottlieb, the chairman of the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms Chairman. “Trying to fix blame on gun manufacturers and their perfectly legal products when the fault is with his own policies and his party’s soft-on-criminals agenda is simply pitiful, and I don’t think his broadcaster brother is going to be able to talk him out of this mess.”
Cuomo’s declaration institutes a number of immediate “reforms,” such as requiring state law enforcement to gather and report incident-level crime data and doling out $138 million for “violence intervention programs.”
But it also creates two new agencies that will no doubt mandate further “reforms” in the future. The Office of Gun Violence Prevention is tasked with coordinating “an all-of-government approach to ensure that state and local programs are advancing unified gun violence prevention strategies.” Cuomo also plans to follow the lead of Joe Biden’s “firearms trafficking strike forces” by instituting a Gun Trafficking Interdiction Unit within the New York State Police Department to “combat the flow of illegal guns onto New York streets.”
Cuomo’s gun control bonanza didn’t stop there. Immediately after declaring a “gun violence” disaster emergency, he signed two gun control bills aimed at attacking gun manufacturers and prohibiting those accused but not convicted of felonies from purchasing a firearm. The first would allow anyone to take legal action against gun makers for creating a “public nuisance.” The second would prohibit any person who has an outstanding warrant for a “felony or serious offense” from purchasing a firearm.
Gottlieb sees Cuomo’s actions as in line with other mayors and governors who have blamed “gun violence” for the consequences of their bad criminal justice policies.
“As governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo has been a train wreck with mass casualties,” Gottlieb said, “and his emergency declaration is an intellectually dishonest maneuver to convince voters none of this was his fault. But he’s the man in charge, he’s been in charge and he’s got to take ownership of this disaster.”