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VICTORY FOR GUN SAFETY: Following Advocacy from Moms Demand Action, Students Demand Action Governor Hochul Signs Historic Bill Increasing Access to Economic Support for Survivors and Victims of Gun Violence and Their Families 

December 9, 2023

New York Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action Volunteers Took Over 900 Digital Actions Urging The Passage of This Measure

ALBANY, NY – The New York chapters of Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, both part of Everytown for Gun Safety’s grassroots networks, released the following statements today after Governor Kathy Hochul signed historic legislation that will expand access to economic support for victims and survivors of gun violence, and their families, by facilitating access to the state’s victim compensation fund. 

“Making compensation funds equally accessible to all survivors of gun violence is a critical component of reducing the long-lasting impacts of gun violence on our families and communities,” said Pamela Hight, a volunteer with the New York chapter of Moms Demand Action whose son was shot and killed on Christmas Eve in 2013. “This law expands avenues for economic justice to those already navigating the trauma of loss or injury following gun violence. We applaud Governor Hochul for her leadership in the fight to prevent gun violence, support for victims and survivors and their families, and for ensuring that social equity is at the forefront of how we think about mitigating the impacts of gun violence.”

“The enduring trauma of gun violence—financially, emotionally, and mentally—is devastating for victims, survivors and their families who are rebuilding their lives,” said Angela Ferrell-Zabala, Executive Director of Moms Demand Action. “This historic bill demonstrates a crucial understanding of both the need to financially compensate survivors, and the systemic barriers to survivors actually receiving that support. I’m thankful that Governor Hochul is expanding access to these critical resources, allowing communities to prioritize healing by alleviating the financial burden caused by tragedy.”

“My generation is all too familiar with the devastating impacts of gun violence. This victory will finally bring healing to more survivors and ensure they have the support they need,” said Cora Lynn Mundy, a member of the Students Demand Action National Advisory Board and volunteer leader with Staten Island Academy Students Demand Action. “We must approach gun violence as an intersectional issue, and this bill puts equity at the center of accessing life-changing funds for historically marginalized communities. That’s why young New Yorkers are more eager than ever to keep working with our leaders to fight for a just, safer future that’s free from gun violence.”

New York’s law will make the victim compensation fund more accessible to communities of color, members of the LGBTQIA+ community, working class people, disabled people, and immigrants that have historically faced barriers that prevented them from benefiting from these life-changing resources – such as short timeframes for reporting and requesting assistance, and the requirement to interact with law enforcement. 

Fair access to victim compensation is a social equity issue that exacerbates the already disproportionate impact of gun violence on communities of color. Black men are disproportionately impacted compared to other groups, yet Black people make up only 27% of those who apply for victim compensation. LGBTQIA+, transgender and gender nonconforming victims and survivors of gun violence often fear seeking police assistance, which, prior to the enactment of this new law, has often precluded them from accessing victim compensation. 

Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action volunteers have been advocating over the last several sessions for fair victim compensation legislation as part of a holistic plan to combat the devastating effects of gun violence in New York and nationwide. 

Earlier this fall, Governor Hochul signed legislation to allow Medicaid reimbursement for violence intervention programs. A bill to consider more than economic damages in wrongful death suits, including suits to hold bad actors in the gun industry accountable, awaits action from the Governor. 

In an average year in New York, 939 people die by guns and 1,991 people are wounded. Gun violence costs New York $11.4 billion each year, of which $301.2 million is paid by taxpayers. More information on gun violence in New York is available here.

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