June 11, 2023
Albany, NY

ICYMI: Governor Hochul's Op-Ed in Buffalo News: Fighting to Keep New Yorkers Safe from the Scourge of Gun Violence

ICYMI: Governor Hochul's Op-Ed in Buffalo News: Fighting to Keep New Yorkers Safe from the Scourge of Gun Violence

Today, the Buffalo News published an op-ed by Governor Kathy Hochul for Wear Orange Weekend, an annual commemoration of the lives lost to gun violence. The text of the op-ed is available below and can be viewed online here.

On the weekend of June 2-4, people around the country came together and wore orange to honor victims and survivors of gun violence. Wear Orange Weekend was first recognized in 2015 to commemorate the life of Hadiya Pendleton, who was shot dead in Chicago at the age of 15.

This year's Wear Orange Weekend comes just 12 months after the racially motivated mass shooting at a grocery store in my hometown of Buffalo, which claimed the lives of 10 innocent people. That pain was still raw when yet another gunman killed 19 children and two teachers at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, just 10 days after the attack in East Buffalo.

These tragic scenes have become horrifyingly common. This year alone, our country has endured more than 250 mass shootings and nearly 18,000 lives lost to gun violence. Guns are now the leading cause of death for children and teens in America. An entire generation has been forced to factor fear of gun violence into their everyday lives.

My No. 1 priority as governor is to make sure New Yorkers feel safe where they live. That's why I worked with legislators in Albany to pass a landmark gun safety package less than a month after the attack in Buffalo, which strengthened our existing gun laws and closed critical loopholes to help prevent future tragedies.

A year later, we know these laws are helping to save lives and New Yorkers feel safer thanks to the action we've taken to protect them however we can. Last June, we bolstered our red flag laws and expanded who is eligible to petition for orders of protection to keep guns away from people who might be a danger to themselves or to others.

And we're just getting started. This year's enacted budget reflects our continued commitment to eradicating gun violence in New York State with $347 million for evidence-based gun violence prevention initiatives—a $120 million increase from last year's historic figure.

We've included $36.4 million to grow our Gun Involved Violence Elimination (GIVE) initiative and $25 million to expand our SNUG outreach program, which focuses on community engagement and support for young people dealing with trauma associated with long-term exposure to gun violence. We've also allocated an unprecedented $70 million to help communities respond to incidents of gun violence, including $50 million for community capital needs.

There is a direct correlation between common-sense gun laws and lives saved. The evidence is clear - states with tougher gun laws have lower rates of gun deaths. New York now has the fourth-lowest gun death rate in the country - four times lower than Texas.

But there's still more to do. As we wait for much-needed national gun laws, states need to step up and do more. That's why I continue to fight today for the solutions we need to save lives tomorrow.

Contact the Governor’s Press Office

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