New York Democratic Gov. Kathy Hochul is just two months into her term and not wasting time renewing a sham gun control effort that began under her predecessor, disgraced former Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
Cuomo’s gun violence disaster emergency order carried a taxpayer price tag of $160 million, ostensibly to target crime hotspots, engage youth, declare a gun control “border war” at the state line and rebuild police relations with the community. It was all bluster so Gov. Cuomo could say he was treating crime with the same level of attention as a health emergency.
Except he didn’t and neither is Gov. Hochul. Only one-third of the cash has been used to address “gun violence” in what both administrations call an urgent “epidemic.” Gov. Hochul’s spokesperson said, “Gov. Hochul will continue to work…to end the gun violence epidemic, including job training, community engagement and more intervention programs.”
The declaration included a promise that $18.5 million would create 2,400 long-term jobs, “in communities distressed by gun violence.” The program has only created about 20 jobs so far.
Neither governor focused on holding the criminals who commit crimes accountable. New York-based government watchdog groups have called foul. They labelled Gov. Cuomo’s original announcement a means to both “hold on to power” and to distract from his “ongoing controversies.”
The new governor decided to keep the whole charade going.
The declaration was the wrong approach when former Gov. Cuomo declared a “disaster emergency” as his attempt to again address crime and it’s still wrong. There was never an administration policy reversal for releasing violent criminals from prison with a slap on the wrist. Some of those released were incarcerated for committing murder.
Gov. Cuomo peddled gun the same control talking points, even repeating the debunked lie that, “The only industry in the United States of America immune from lawsuits are the gun manufacturers,” when he announced the emergency order. In reality, his declared gun violence “emergency declaration” didn’t do anything other than infringe on the lawful rights of New York residents who are only interested in self-defense. Gov. Hochul is following the same playbook.
Gov. Hochul is a former Congresswoman from Western New York and had previously received an “A” rating from the NRA during her one term in Congress. She once told a gun rights audience, “When a bill comes up that affects your Second Amendment rights, I’m on your side.” Times and her commitment to gun rights have changed.
Her efforts to reduce criminal misuse of firearms — or “gun violence” as she and her gun control allies term it — in the Empire State are abysmal. She’s perfectly in lockstep with Gov. Cuomo’s plan. She’s continuing the declared “disaster emergency” in New York that Gov. Cuomo launched, including prisoner release programs and targeting lawful firearm manufacturers by attempting to circumvent the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA) with New York’s new law allowing lawsuits against manufacturers and retailers for the criminal misuse by remote third parties of lawfully sold firearms.
New York is now facing a trifecta of failing gun policies. The state has among the nation’s strictest gun control laws; the governor continues chasing an ineffective gun control “disaster emergency” that has spent millions of taxpayer dollars to create gun control jobs; and legal firearm manufacturers and retailers are threatened. Yet not a single word has been offered as to how New York will enforce its existing criminal laws.
Larry Keane is SVP for Government and Public Affairs, Assistant Secretary and General Counsel of the National Shooting Sports Foundation.