WHITE PLAINS, NY — June 6, 2022 — We have all witnessed the recent carnage of gun violence in our country – from the brutal, racist murders in Buffalo to the unspeakable deaths of schoolchildren and teachers in Uvalde, Texas, and now the attack on a hospital in Tulsa. The fact that we see these happening over and over can leave us feeling powerless to stop this senseless horrific violence — to give in to giving up.
We must not, and we will not.
My team and my office has been working proactively over the past 17 months to make sure our gun safety laws are used as effectively as possible here in Westchester, focusing on law enforcement operations to get guns off the street, promote safe firearm storage, host gun buybacks, target untraceable “ghost guns,” aggressively prosecute those who engage in gun violence, and enforce our red flag laws. We have held numerous trainings for law enforcement departments and schools in the county, and we’ve partnered with both Federal law enforcement and experts in our community, including Moms Demand Action. We have dramatically expanded the number of Extreme Risk Protection Orders (also known as ERPOs) court orders in New York, issued when a person may be dangerous to themselves or others, and we are now tracking ERPOs for the first time in my office’s history.
Current events make clear that we cannot let our guard down anywhere, including here in Westchester, to keep our children and families, our teachers and first responders, our neighbors and our communities safe.
As a mother of two school aged children here in Westchester, I feel the same fear so many parents are experiencing each day when they send their kids off to school.
This epidemic has become so pervasive that, for the first time in our nation’s history, gun violence is now the leading cause of death for children in this country. We simply cannot accept this.
I applaud our state legislators for passing a new gun safety package this week that will raise the minimum age to purchase a semiautomatic rifle to 21 in New York, prevent most civilians from buying bullet-resistant body armor, and strengthen our red flag laws. As we know, stronger legislation matters – I stand with my fellow prosecutors in Buffalo who are using New York’s new domestic terrorism criminal statutes for the first time in that case.
This week, President Biden called on Congress to reauthorize a national assault weapon ban. The President is right. There is no excuse for inaction. We must work together to support tougher gun safety measures at the state and federal level, to advocate for stronger national regulations, and to raise awareness about the tools we have to make our communities safer.
I will continue to use every tool available to my office to fight gun violence and I will continue to use my platform to advocate for the changes we need nationally.
I promise that to you – and to our children.