Assemblyman Steve Hawley, R–Batavia, criticized Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s declaration on Tuesday of a “statewide disaster emergency” regarding gun violence in the state.
Cuomo issued an executive order declaring the first-in-the-nation gun violence disaster emergency as part of a new comprehensive plan to build a safer state.
“This emergency declaration is yet another instance of the governor going above our heads in the Legislature to haphazardly expend funds aimed to try and solve the wrong root problem,” Hawley said Wednesday in a statement.
“The reason for the rise in crime as of late is no mystery, and until the governor admits bail reform was a failed experiment with deadly consequences, I fear the terrible violence in our communities will persist,” Hawley said. “Our constitutional freedom to own guns isn’t the problem that’s causing this violence, it’s the dangerous revolving-door the governor has created in our penal system that’s giving dangerous individuals more opportunities than ever to harm the innocent, or victims of their previous crimes.”
Cuomo on Tuesday outlined a seven-step plan on how the state is going to combat gun violence. That plan includes: 1) Treat gun violence like the emergency public health issue it is; 2) Target hot spots with data and science; 3) Positive engagement for at-risk youth; 4) Break the cycle of escalating violence; 5) Get illegal guns off the street; 6) Keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people; 7) Rebuild the police-community relationship.He also issued an executive order declaring the first-in-the-nation gun violence disaster emergency as part of the effort.
The $138.7 million will help to go toward intervention and prevention programs such as engaging at-risk youth in summer job opportunities and community activity programs to get young people off the streets and support ongoing gun violence prevention programs. Cuomo said this will include $76 million to create job opportunities and community activities for youth.
Cuomo announced his signing of legislation which would hold gun manufacturers liable for their products. He also announced the signing of legislation that will prohibit people with outstanding warrants for their arrest to purchase guns.
Part of the state’s plan to combat gun violence includes the creation of a new State Police Gun Trafficking Interdiction Unit to stop the flow of illegal guns that come into New York from other states.
To coordinate the state’s gun violence prevention effort, Cuomo announced the creation of the Office of Gun Violence Prevention. He also issued an Executive Order requiring major police departments to share incident-level data on gun violence with the Department of Criminal Justice to compile the data weekly. The data will be used by the new Office of Gun Violence Prevention to track emerging gun violence hot spots and deploy resources to those areas that need it most.
Hawley said that for months he has called for the rollback of bail reform laws, which limits a judge’s ability to use discretion to issue bail to those they know to be dangerous.
Hawley said that this law has created a revolving door for dangerous criminals, who have often been released back into the public after being arrested following the implementation of bail reform.
Hawley represents the 139th District, which consists of Genesee, Orleans and parts of Monroe County.