Increased gun violence which is now claiming more lives than Covid-19 and threatens the broader economic recovery has prompted New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo to declare a state of emergency on Tuesday, allowing the state to release $138.7 million of funding for a series of initiatives, The Wall Street Journal reports.
Cuomo also signed a law allowing gun sellers and manufacturers to be sued by people harmed by firearms if those entities acted recklessly and failed to prevent their products to be marketed or sold illegally in New York, circumventing a 2005 federal restriction of such suits.
The gun-control advocates wholeheartedly supported the new law, but the National Shooting Sports Foundation, a firearms-trade association, plans to challenge it in court where Attorney General Letitia James is looking forward to enforcing the law and defending it against legal challenges.
Cuomo said during a speech in Manhattan, that people will not be coming back to New York City unless they feel safe, pointing that the perceived lack of safety could prevent the return of office workers to urban centers. His action was enticed by increased shootings in several of the state’s cities with the New York Police Department recording 718 shootings from Jan. 1 through June 27, compared with 503 in the same period last year.
According to the state, upstate cities of Buffalo, Rochester and Albany have witnessed highest increases with eight people killed by gun violence in Albany through May, compared to one person over the same period in 2020.
Cuomo pledged to allocate $58 million funding for summer-employment programs designed to help 21,000 people and to double funding for violence-interruption programs such as SNUG, in which nonprofit organizations hire outreach workers to act as mediators in inner-city disputes.