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NY Governor Declares Emergency Over “Gun Violence”

New York Governor Cuomo declares a Disaster Emergency over gun violence, targeting it with state funds and two new pieces of legislation.

As New York’s state of emergency over COVID ends, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo declared a new state of emergency, this time taking aim at guns.

On July 6, Gov. Cuomo issued an Executive Order declaring a disaster emergency regarding gun violence. 

Gov Cuomo Disaster Emergency
NY Gov. Cuomo issued new executive orders combating gun violence. (Photo: NY Governor’s Office)

“Just like we did with COVID, New York is going to lead the nation once again with a comprehensive approach to combating and preventing gun violence,” the Governor announced in a press release, “and our first step is acknowledging the problem with a first-in-the-nation disaster emergency on gun violence.”

What exactly is this new emergency, and how does the state intend to deal with it?

We break it down and give you the facts you need to know.

So, keep reading to learn more.

Table of Contents


Gun Violence Disaster Emergency

So, what is the Disaster Emergency?

Simply put, it’s a new strategy targeting guns and so-called gun violence in an attempt to curb shootings in the state.

Gov Cuomo Disaster Emergency
Gov Cuomo leads a press conference on gun violence. (Photo: NY Governor’s Office)

It’s worth noting that calling in a Disaster Emergency means the state will have access to $140 million.

Along with the declaration of the Disaster Emergency, New York will also create the Office of Gun Violence Prevention.

This office will operate under the New York State Department of Health.

New York State Dept of Health
New York State Department of Health logo.

The Department will have input from other state agencies, including the Offices of Mental Health, Children and Family Services, Temporary and Disability Assistance, the Prevention of Domestic Violence, Victim Services, the Departments of Labor, Housing, Health, Corrections and Community Supervision, and the Division of Criminal Justice Services, Empire State Development, the State Police, Division of Budget.

The goal of the new Office of Gun Violence Prevention will be to “track emerging gun violence hotspots and deploy resources to those areas that need it most.” 

But what does that mean? 

Well, at least $76 million will go towards creating jobs and community activities for at-risk youth.

New York State Police are also getting in on the action with a new State Police Gun Trafficking Interdiction Unit. 

NY State Police
(Photo: New York State Police)

The unit’s goal will focus on stopping guns coming in from other states.

It is interesting to note that with all of these new government agencies, there was no mention of actually enforcing currently existing laws or cracking down on the individuals committing these crimes. 

Gun Violence: A Public Health Crisis?

Gov. Cuomo targeted guns in the Executive Order, calling gun violence a “public health crisis.”

According to Cuomo, gun violence is up 48% in New York City, 22% in Albany, 88% in Buffalo, and 95% in Rochester. 

It’s worth noting that New York already features some of the strictest gun laws with the passing of the SAFE Act in 2013.

Andrew Cuomo Signs the NY SAFE Act
Andrew Cuomo Signs the NY SAFE Act

That law placed a series of new restrictions on law-abiding gun owners, including re-defining “assault weapons” to include semi-automatic rifles, semi-automatic pistols, and semi-automatic shotguns containing two or more features from a list of prohibited features.

The SAFE Act also restricted magazine sizes to seven rounds or less.

Though that portion of the law was later ruled unconstitutional, the State’s restriction on magazines holding 10 rounds or less remained in place.  

But somehow, even with the most restrictive gun laws in the U.S., New York still saw a rise in gun violence numbers. 

New Anti-Gun Bills

In addition to the Disaster Emergency, the Governor also signed two new bills into law to further address gun violence. 

One of those new laws allows the public to hold gun manufacturers liable for their products for creating a “public nuisance.” 

S&W 686 barrel view
The new law targets gun makers like Smith & Wesson.

While the other prohibits firearms sales to anyone with an outstanding warrant for a felony or serious offense.

The prohibition on firearms sales to people with outstanding warrants doesn’t really change things; instead, the bigger issue lies with the first law.

I mean…he’s not wrong.

Targeting gun makers actually goes against the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, passed by Congress in 2005.

That federal law specifically protects firearms manufacturers and dealers from being held liable when crimes have been committed with their products.

Though, manufacturers and dealers are still liable for damages and harm resulting from defective products and other actions they are directly responsible for — just like manufacturers of any product in the U.S. 

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Under federal law, gun makers can not be held liable for the actions of those that use their products.

In a press release, Gov. Cuomo acknowledged the federal law but signed the New York bill into law anyway.

Unless Congress overrides the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, New York’s law will likely be found in direct conflict with the federal law.

And, in that situation, federal law would prevail. 


For gun owners in New York, the declaration of Disaster Emergency and the new laws don’t do much to change the status quo. 

The only major change is that those with outstanding warrants for a felony or serious offense are prohibited from purchasing a firearm.

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Aside from that, the Disaster Emergency primarily allots funds to create new agencies and offices acknowledging areas of high gun violence. It also aims to combat violence through community outreach and government programs. 

For better or worse, things will remain the same for the time being.  

Disclaimer: While the information provided here is legal in nature, it is not to be construed as legal advice and is for educational and entertainment purposes only. 

This is part of a new series on Pew Pew Tactical tackling gun laws and policy. Let us know how we did and if you like this new style by dropping a comment below. Or, if there’s a topic you’d like to see, let us know! To read more on gun laws check out our Gun Law Category.

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13 Leave a Reply

  • Commenter Avatar
    Rabbi Yakub Cohenberg

    Democrats continue to coddle criminals. Shocking.

    "Hey, we signed all these restrictive gun laws that only affect law abiding citizens and released a bunch of criminals into the streets and gun violence went up. What gives!?"

    July 20, 2021 9:34 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    Michael C

    So Cuomo does more to handcuff law abiding citizens again. I smell another Emmy and book deal. I’d say you’d (especially seniors and the seriously ill) be safer in a hospital but in Cuomo’s New York that’s basically a death sentence.

    July 19, 2021 3:49 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Zachary Nelson

    I'm never going back to that state. I was raised a proud new Yorker... but then I joined the military and... yeah. Turns out communism is bad. Weird.

    July 18, 2021 9:30 am
  • Commenter Avatar

    It's corruption disguised as gun control.
    The gov's top aide (Melissa DeRosa) father and brother are "health care" lobbyists in NY

    By declaring a "health care" emergency the gov's office can award "contracts" to groups paying for access to these "contracts".

    Same sh**, Different day.

    July 16, 2021 6:30 pm
  • Commenter Avatar

    And let’s not forget NY’s bail reform law where the criminals are back out on the streets the next day. Increase in violence….no kidding.

    July 16, 2021 10:06 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    Len C

    I can't shake my head enough times when ever I see anything news in regards to Cuomo and gun laws. The guy is a bonified idiot and willing to say he'll be lining his pockets with some of that $140 million in disaster aid.
    So happy that I finally was able to leave New York and retire to a pro 2nd Amendment state 2 yrs ago.

    July 15, 2021 6:07 pm
    • Commenter Avatar

      The worst part is that nobody wants him to be in power right now. Conservatives hate him for his liberal policies, and liberals hate him for his history of sexual assault. If he had a shred of decency he'd resign, but he'd rather cling to power and try to distract people through gestures like this.

      July 16, 2021 7:52 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    Abner Malady

    Hide your grandparents!

    July 15, 2021 5:47 pm
  • Commenter Avatar

    Speaking as a law abiding, gun owning resident of NY, most of us who live outside the cities know this is ridiculous but lack proper/adequate representation. Cuomo is facing quite a few legal issues himself right now and this is likely an effort to misdirect attention from those investigations.
    I would love to see a pewpew article about Cuomo's bail reform program. Apparently increasing crime statistics and releasing the majority of law breakers after arraignment aren't connected (see recent homicide in Clinton County where suspect was caught with around 1000 grams of heroine and crack, arraigned and released approximately 5 hours before alleged murder occurred).
    To put it simply, the last time i checked, drugs were illegal but we still have a drug problem....

    July 15, 2021 5:40 pm
  • Commenter Avatar

    “Just like we did with COVID, New York is going to lead the nation once again with a comprehensive approach to combating and preventing gun violence,” -Cuomo

    "at least 12,743 long-term care residents died of the virus as of Jan. 19, far greater than the official tally of 8,505 on that day, cementing New York’s toll as one of the HIGHEST IN THE NATION." -AP

    July 15, 2021 1:57 pm
    • Commenter Avatar

      If the rest of the nation follows his crap by about Christmas time we will be leading the world in COVID Delta variant deaths.

      July 15, 2021 4:25 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Andrew J Hodges

    At least they are partially acknowledging the real sources of violent crime in urban areas. Poverty and broken homes. I hope those efforts are both successful at reducing crime AND properly recognized for it. But I hope rather than beleive.

    July 15, 2021 1:00 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    range rat

    I live in NJ. NYC is pretty much back to where it was in the 60s, 70s, & 80s. Not too many crimes there using legally purchased firearms, because it is near impossible to get a permit anyway. Also the likely (after the November election) new Manhattan DA has publicly stated in his campaign website that he will not actively prosecute felony gun possession crimes. The following quote is directly from candidate Alvin Bragg's website "..... It also means that we will do away with the most common outcome in current gun prosecutions: 1 – 3 year jail or prison sentences for the possession of a firearm....". If someone asked me, I would eliminate the questionable and ineffective "buy back" effort and simply put a bounty of $2500 on every illegal firearm. That way the gang members would just snitch on each other. Cuomo & de Blasio talk about an "iron pipeline" up from the south and act as if the ATF doesn't investigate the FFLs who sell in volume to straw buyers (they most certainly do).

    July 15, 2021 10:28 am
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