Local and state leaders are responding to Gov. Andrew Cuomo's Tuesday declaration of a disaster emergency on gun violence in the state of New York.
Cuomo says gun violence is a public health crisis, and the declaration allows the state to use more of its resources to address the problem.
The governor announced a seven-pronged strategy to combat the increase in gun crime, which includes targeting hot spots in the state, getting illegal guns off of the streets and engaging at-risk youth.
Here are comments from state lawmakers:
Rep. Claudia Tenney, R-22
“Governor Cuomo’s latest “state of emergency” is a total farce. It’s yet another politically motivated stunt designed to increase his own executive powers at the expense of our Constitutional rights.
“Governor Cuomo is right about one thing: crime is on the rise. From Utica to Binghamton, violence is soaring and the New Yorkers I represent are deeply concerned. But the root of the problem isn’t with law-abiding gun owners or reputable manufacturers like Remington Arms, a staple of the Mohawk Valley for more than 200 years. The problem is with Albany’s radical politicians who are targeting hardworking New Yorkers and inexplicably tipping the scales of justice in favor of criminals. Bail “reform,” among other so-called criminal justice reforms, is putting more violent offenders on the streets while the defund the police agenda is causing irreparable harm to our communities.
“If Governor Cuomo was serious about restoring order and addressing rising crime, he would be taking meaningful actions to reverse these policies. Instead, he’s engaging in more political theater and putting our communities at greater risk.”
Assemblywoman Marianne Buttenschon, D-119
“Yesterday, the Governor issued an executive order declaring gun violence in New York State a disaster emergency, freeing up state resources and funds to better protect residents from this scourge. The Governor also proposed expanding summer employment programs to reach at-risk youth and improving statewide gun violence data research.
"While I support all efforts to end gun violence this epidemic will only be resolved if those that are closest to the problem in our community provide input for achievable solutions. Recently, I met with board members of the Oneida County Sheriff's Law Enforcement Foundation to discuss their "Bridge” Program, which looks to engage all members of our community with law enforcement through positive educational and community outreach. This working board knows that we all need to work together to have success and I commend them and all that they are working towards to curtail this devastating epidemic.
“I have always supported the gun ownership rights guaranteed to us by the Second Amendment. However, I cannot ignore the fact that lives are continuously and tragically cut short by gun-related violence. Over this past weekend, three Utica residents were shot and two perished. One of the victims was a 14-year-old who was shot by a 15-year-old. We can’t allow horrific incidents like these to continue to occur regularly and must act immediately to reach out to our youth through every mode possible to decrease their likelihood of involvement in violence. By investing in community outreach programs and offering summer job opportunities to at-risk youth, we can work to curtail gun-related incidents."
Sen. Rob Ortt, R-62
"Days after finally relinquishing his emergency powers, the Governor has declared another emergency. 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.
These heinous acts of violence and the victims affected deserve real solutions -- not political grandstanding."
Nick Langworthy, chairman of New York GOP
“We have a state of emergency in New York--it’s called one-party Democrat rule. What did Cuomo think would happen when he let all the dangerous criminals back onto the streets? We have a public safety crisis that has been created by Democrats who handcuff and villainize police, while coddling violent career criminals by eliminating bail, loosening parole and allowing them free rein in our communities. The only way we are going to get this scourge of violence under control is to throw out the Democrats who created this nightmare in the first place--starting with Andrew Cuomo.”
Gerard Kassar, New York State Conservative Party chairman
“There’s a ‘Disaster Emergency’ in New York — and not the one Andrew Cuomo is fabricating to create a political distraction from
the ongoing crime wave.
“The real disaster is the liberal, pie-in-the-sky criminal justice ‘reforms’ that Mr. Cuomo and his Democrat colleagues have forced on New Yorkers over the past three years. The resulting crime surge is as unconscionable as it was predictable.
“What did Mr. Cuomo think would happen when cash bail, broken window policing, and stop-and-frisk were all abruptly ended? What did he think when police budgets were slashed? Did he think criminals would go on vacation?
“Mr. Cuomo’s solution, once again, is to threaten the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding New Yorkers rather than address the actual issue of criminal behavior.
“We know how to crack down on crime — two Republican New York City mayors proved it — but Mr. Cuomo seems more concerned about appearing ‘woke’ than he is about crime victims. How terribly progressive. How terribly sad.”