For a brief moment last night, I found myself on the verge of publishing some gushing praise for embattled New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. After dozens of people across the state were shot over the Independence Day weekend, Cuomo called a hastily prepared press conference to announce that he was declaring a “gun violence disaster emergency” and taking immediate steps to bring it under control. The name seems a bit confusing because governors generally either issue disaster declarations or they declare states of emergency. But perhaps the choice of wording was simply intended to show how serious he was about it. Either way, he quickly spoke about illegal guns, which further encouraged me.
Unfortunately, Cuomo’s liberal instincts got the better of him and the details of his new executive order quickly turned political rather than focusing on the actual problem. He almost immediately began talking about the need to continue “reforming” the police (as if they’re the ones committing all of these shootings) and keeping guns out of the hands of “those considered dangerous.” He also described the surge in shootings as a “public health crisis” instead of a violent crime crisis. I suppose he just can’t help himself. (National Review)
At a presentation Tuesday, Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo declared a “disaster emergency” on gun violence in New York and issued an executive order expediting funding to address the problem, which he called a new “epidemic.” …
Speaking to the audience, Cuomo confirmed all the executive and legislative actions the state is undertaking to combat rising crime in the state.
He praised the state legislature, as well as the lobbying of advocacy groups like the NAACP, for passing laws that target gun manufacturers and close the “Trump loophole” that he claimed placed guns in the hands of dangerous people.
Today I am issuing an Executive Order declaring a Disaster Emergency on gun violence.
Gun violence is a public health crisis, and we must treat it like one.
This declaration will allow us to give this crisis the full attention & resources it deserves.
— Andrew Cuomo (@NYGovCuomo) July 6, 2021
Cuomo immediately began criticizing gun manufacturers and vaguely referencing “dangerous people” who shouldn’t be allowed to purchase firearms, such as suspects with active warrants. Many people with warrants already have some convictions on their record so they wouldn’t be eligible to legally purchase a gun, but we can skip over that pesky detail for the moment. What we should be pointing out to Cuomo is that the current tidal wave of shootings is not being carried out by people who might attempt to legally purchase a firearm in the future. These shootings are happening right now and they are being perpetrated almost entirely by gang bangers and organized criminals using illegal guns that exist outside the system.
The Governor next veered off into the subject of police reform and “community trust” of law enforcement, saying that we need to “reimagine and reinvent” policing. I would argue that New York City already “reimagined” the NYPD’s budget to the point where they are facing a critical shortage of manpower. And it’s only emboldened the gang shooters rather than restraining them.
It’s not as if there weren’t some good items in Cuomo’s announcement. He’s ordering additional checkpoints on the state’s borders to try to curb the flow of illegal weapons into the state. He’s also establishing a youth jobs program intended to prepare young people for careers in the trades after they finish school. While he didn’t say the words aloud, this is clearly intended to give young people some options other than falling in with the gangs and building some sort of work ethic in them. Both of these are admirable proposals.
But until we find a way to get the illegal guns that are already out there off of the streets and start locking up enough gang bangers that they begin fearing and respecting the police again, none of this is going to amount to very much. And under the current conditions, Andrew Cuomo’s state of “disaster emergency” won’t be ending any time soon.