New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announces ‘disaster emergency’ and ‘border war’ on gun violence

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo speaking at a podium in front of a skyscraper backdrop.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

  • New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Tuesday issued a “disaster emergency” on gun violence.
  • As part of the announcement, he unveiled a series of executive orders and bill signings.
  • This comes less than two weeks since he ended his COVID-19 state of emergency and executive powers.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

In an announcement before gun control advocacy groups and clergy leaders on Tuesday, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced a series of executive orders and legislative priorities to reduce gun violence.

Cuomo did not take questions at the event and was light on specifics for much of his PowerPoint presentation. His announcement comes after at least 140 people died in shootings across the United States over the Fourth of July holiday weekend.

Major components of the Cuomo executive orders include:

  • Declaring a state of emergency that frees up state agencies to spend money more quickly on gun-related programs.
  • Requiring police departments, including the NYPD, to collect more detailed incident data when responding to shootings.
  • Forming a New York State Police “special unit” to target gun trafficking, coordinating with New Jersey, Connecticut, and Pennsylvania to share data on traffic stops.
  • Ending immunity for gun manufacturers, an exemption created by the Bush administration in the 2005 Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act. Cuomo said he will sign a bill later in the day reinstating public nuisance liability for gun manufacturers.
  • Banning people with active warrants from buying guns by signing a bill already passed by the NY Assembly and Senate.
  • Creating a state partnership with the John Jay College of Criminal Justice to share “best practices” with local police departments on preventing gun violence.
  • Directing the State Division of Criminal Justice Services to issue new regulations preventing police officers with misconduct records from getting jobs at other departments in the state.
  • Investing $138.7 million to community gun violence prevention efforts.

Cuomo showed statistics on how shootings are up 38% in the first six months of 2021 compared to 2020, warning that a fear of violence is keeping the business community from bringing more workers back to the office in the Big Apple. The governor’s presentation contradicted New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s from earlier in the day, where the mayor cautioned against “fear mongering” and showed NYPD data on shootings being down 20% in June 2021 compared to June 2020.

The executive orders are part of a “disaster emergency” declaration, Cuomo said, touting New York as the first state in the nation to do so.

Cuomo also said he will wage a “border war” to stop the flow of illegal guns into New York from “the South.”

“We announced today a border war, and the border war is we’re going to stop guns coming in through our borders and into our cities,” he said. “We know where they’re coming from. They’re coming from the South, and we’re going to declare a border war to stop it.”

The governor also joked that he would build a wall on the state border with his name on it, apparently mocking former President Donald Trump whose hardline stance on immigration involved a still-incomplete wall along the US-Mexico border.

It’s been less than two weeks since Cuomo announced the end of his COVID-19 state of emergency, where the legislature granted him wide-reaching executive powers to respond to the coronavirus pandemic.

Cuomo is still facing an impeachment investigation on top of multiple other scandals, and has resumed in-person fundraising events for a still-to-be-announced 2022 re-election campaign.

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