Over the weekend, a 20-year-old woman was shot and killed in a Brooklyn shooting that left six others wounded, many of them teenagers. The shooting comes after a violent year in New York, especially for New York City, Rochester and Syracuse, which have all seen drastic increases in shootings.
Gun violence is the second leading cause of death for children and teens in New York. When children and teens die by gun violence in New York, the majority die in homicides. Black children and teens in New York are five times as likely as their white peers to die by guns. More information about gun violence in New York is available here, and more information about gun violence in cities is available here.
Additional context to keep in mind:
1) The pandemic has exacerbated the root causes of gun violence, in New York City and across the country.
- Lack of access to opportunity is a key driver of gun violence, and the pandemic has brought an economic crisis. The economic fallout has also disproportionately affected communities where decades of policy decisions have created conditions that contribute to gun violence. “To put it bluntly,” Michael-Sean Spence, Everytown’s community safety initiatives director, wrote in Newsweek earlier this year, “underinvestment in Black and Latino neighborhoods has created the environments in which public health epidemics thrive.”
2) The pandemic has brought unprecedented challenges to the work of local gun violence intervention programs.
- Many local gun violence intervention programs — which have seen success in preventing daily gun violence in cities — have experienced unprecedented challenges in their work, including strained funding, social distancing measures which have impacted interpersonal conflicts, causing them to occur more frequently and escalate more quickly via online communication, and an expansion of their mission to include preventing the spread of the virus.
3) Local leaders should continue to invest in — and reporters should seek out for insight — community-led violence intervention programs that save lives.
- LIFECamp — LIFE Camp provides youth and families that have been impacted by violence the valuable tools they need to stay in school and out of the criminal justice system.
- The Gathering for Justice —The Gathering for Justice’s mission is to build a movement to end child incarceration while working to eliminate the racial inequities that permeate the justice system. The organization’s Community Relief Fund provided direct support to 15-25 year olds in Brooklyn impacted by COVID-19.
4) State officials can tap into existing funding to help.
- In addition to increasing dedicated state funding for gun violence prevention and services for survivors of gun violence, state agencies should utilize federal Victim of Crime Act (VOCA) victim assistance funding to support local organizations serving survivors of gun violence and their communities.
5) Federal inaction has left cities and states to fend for themselves in addressing gun violence, an uphill battle given the country’s patchwork of state gun laws.
- The current House of Representatives has passed several bills that address gun violence, including the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, the Violence against Women Act (VAWA), the Enhanced Background Checks Act of 2019, and the Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019 –– but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has refused to bring any of them to the Senate floor for a vote. President Trump has also repeatedly failed to take action on gun safety, incited violence against those protesting violence by police, and chosen the NRA –– which gave more to his 2016 election efforts than any other outside group –– over the American people.
To learn more about how to reduce city gun violence, visit CityGRIP.org.