New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s declaration of a “disaster emergency on gun violence” has been met with a barrage of criticism from two leading national gun rights organizations, and some critics are portraying this move as an attempt to distract public attention from his legal problems over his response to the COVID-19 crisis and allegations of sexual harassment.
The Empire State governor announced a plan to use more than $138 million in an effort to combat a rising wave of violent gun-related crime. A big share of that money will go toward the creation of summer job opportunities for “at-risk youth,” according to NBC News.
He also signed legislation that will make it easier for municipalities to file lawsuits against the firearms industry, which may immediately run afoul of the federal Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act. That statute prohibits “junk lawsuits” that were popular back in the early 2000s as an attempt to bankrupt the gun industry.
Cuomo went on the warpath against guns and the firearms industry after the July 4 holiday weekend produced a rash of shootings across the state, including 26 in New York City. His plan calls for treating so-called “gun violence” as a public health emergency.
The National Rifle Association ripped Cuomo, declaring in a statement, “Gov. Cuomo and the Democrat controlled Legislature have not only failed to fix the problem, they have made it worse! Their catch-and-release “bail reform” and defunding of law enforcement has resulted in New York crime hitting historic levels, and somehow he can blame—with a straight face—gun manufacturers. The Governor has spent his entire tenure coddling criminals and harassing law-abiding New York gun owners. It should come as no surprise that crime has spiraled out of control.”
And the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms came out swinging in reaction to Cuomo’s comparison of the crime spike to the coronavirus outbreak.
“We went from one epidemic to another epidemic,” Cuomo said. “We went from COVID to the epidemic of gun violence. And the fear and the death that goes along with it. When you look at the recent numbers, more people are dying of gun violence than of COVID … we’re losing young people.”
“Since he brought it up,” said CCRKBA Chairman Alan Gottlieb, “Cuomo’s incompetence in dealing with rising violent crime is as bad as how he botched the coronavirus outbreak by putting COVID-19 patients in nursing homes. Trying to fix blame on gun manufacturers and their perfectly legal products when the fault is with his own policies and his party’s soft-on-criminals agenda is simply pitiful, and I don’t think his broadcaster brother is going to be able to talk him out of this mess.”
The National Shooting Sports Foundation promised to challenge the new anti-gun law. NSSF Senior Vice President and General Counsel Larry Keane issued a statement responding to Cuomo’s declaration.
“This law is unconstitutional, plain and simple,” Keane said. “It is abhorrent that Governor Cuomo is rehashing a decades-old failed playbook that was rejected by courts in the 1990’s and early 2000’s. Governor Cuomo is, again, blame shifting for his administration’s failures to prevent crime by pointing fingers at firearm manufacturers that have been working with federal, state and local authorities…This law is based on the same legal understanding that would allow victims of drunk drivers to sue Ford and Budweiser for the criminal actions of an individual. This law is not legal accountability. It is political posturing.”