On Tuesday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-N.Y.) pioneered a new strategy to grasp for near-dictatorial power: declaring gun violence in the state of New York a “public health crisis” and a “disaster emergency.” Cuomo touted his “first-in-the-nation” initiative as a positive step for New York, rather than an excuse to circumvent the legislature. Cuomo even cited his own tyrannical abuses during the COVID-19 pandemic as precedent for the overreach.
Democrats have dropped hints that they might use various “public health” emergency declarations as an excuse to grasp power and circumvent the normal legislative process. Democrats have filed a bill to declare a national emergency on climate, for example. President Joe Biden himself has called guns a “public health crisis,” and perhaps Cuomo intends to inspire Biden to run roughshod over Congress.
“We’re building New York back better than ever before, but part of rebuilding is addressing the systemic injustices that were exposed by COVID. If you look at the recent numbers, more people are now dying from gun violence and crime than COVID – this is a national problem but someone has to step up and address this problem because our future depends on it,” Cuomo said in a statement on the executive order.
“Just like we did with COVID, New York is going to lead the nation once again with a comprehensive approach to combating and preventing gun violence, and our first step is acknowledging the problem with a first-in-the-nation disaster emergency on gun violence. When we see an injustice we don’t look the other way, we stand up and fight it because that’s the New York way,” the governor added.
The governor’s office explained that Cuomo’s “new strategy treats gun violence as a public health crisis, using short-term solutions to manage the immediate gun violence crisis and reduce the shooting rate, as well as long-term solutions that focus on community-based intervention and prevention strategies to break the cycle of violence.”
“The disaster emergency allows the State to expedite money and resources to communities so they can begin targeting gun violence immediately,” the governor’s office explained.
Cuomo’s executive order will declare a gun violence disaster emergency; require the New York Division of Criminal Justice Services to gather and share incident-level data from police departments on gun violence; create the Office of Gun Violence Prevention; direct resources to “emerging gun violence hot spots;” invest $138.7 million in intervention, prevention, and jobs programs for at-risk youth; and create a new State Police Gun Trafficking Interdiction Unit “to stop the flood of illegal guns that come into New York from states with weak gun safety laws.”
In other words, New York will have a police unit trained to prevent Americans who live in states that honor the Second Amendment from bringing their firearms into the Empire State. Not only has Cuomo made the Orwellian claim that gun violence is a matter of “public health” rather than of individual evil and vice, but he has also suggested that states that protect gun rights have “weak gun safety laws.”
Cuomo’s declaration that this obscene gun control move is “just like” what he did during the COVID-19 pandemic proves unintentionally revealing.
Under Cuomo, New York did indeed lead America during the COVID-19 pandemic — in terms of high case and fatality numbers. In fact, the first wave of COVID-19 that infected most of America came through New York City, and even the left-leaning ProPublica blamed Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio for the spread.
Later on in the pandemic, Cuomo issued harsh lockdown measures, specifically targeting Jewish communities — what he termed “a predominantly ultra-orthodox cluster.” As Black Lives Matter and antifa riots broke out in New York City at night, de Blasio sent police to disperse Jewish mothers and their children from a playground in broad daylight.
On March 25, 2020, Cuomo also ordered nursing homes to admit COVID-19 positive patients, in contrast to Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) guidance that explicitly did “not direct any nursing home to accept a COVID-19 positive patient, if they are unable to do so safely.” This January, New York Attorney General Letitia James released a report showing that the state government had undercounted COVID-19 deaths connected to nursing homes. According to the report, New York sent 9,000 COVID-19 patients to nursing homes and some of the homes complained that half of their staff were sick or home with COVID.
Cuomo also appeared to target small businesses that dared to mock his lockdown restrictions with satirical menus. While this petty vindictiveness should be beneath the dignity of a governor, fellow Democrats and alleged victims of sexual assault have come forward with claims that Cuomo personally threatened them, suggesting that this vindictiveness is not outside of the governor’s character.
This is the record Cuomo is touting when it comes to fighting COVID, and it should terrify New Yorkers that the governor intends to fight the “gun violence public health crisis” “just like we did with COVID.”
If Cuomo keeps his word on that, New York will get more violent even amid a government crackdown on gun ownership that targets Jews, forces unarmed victims to live near known violent criminals, and fines gun shops whose owners decide to mock the governor. In other words, “gun lockdowns” will exacerbate the problems while making Cuomo even more powerful.
Should the legacy media follow its own example on COVID, it will praise Cuomo to the skies while finding any excuse to hate on Ron DeSantis. Perhaps 2020 isn’t hindsight but rather the model for Democratic “governance” moving forward.