Governor Kathy Hochul yesterday signed legislation to fight the ongoing gun violence crisis through the creation of a state Firearm Violence Research Institute. Legislation S.2981/A.7302 establishes the new institute, which will examine gun violence using scientific research methods, as has been done to better understand other major health and social concerns, such as motor vehicle accidents, cancer, heart disease and tobacco research. Legislation S.5952/A.2111 creates a mechanism to allow taxpayer gifts to support the institute’s work.
“New York has led the nation on implementing effective, common sense gun safety policies, and the new Firearm Violence Research Institute further cements our commitment to fighting the scourge of gun violence,” Governor Hochul said. “This institute will be a world-class hub for helping us understand the full scope of this ongoing crisis, providing the tools we need to save lives, keep our communities safe and put an end to the gun violence epidemic.”
S.2981/A.7302 establishes the state Firearm Violence Research Institute. The new institute will work towards identifying solutions to gun violence and will build off of the groundbreaking work currently being done by SUNY. The institute will also work to find science-backed solutions to gun violence in New York State communities, and provide a deeper understanding of this problem to the public and policymakers. This will include advising the governor and governmental agencies, and working with the State Legislature on matters relating to firearm violence across the state.
State Senator Roxanne J. Persaud said, “Nearly twenty percent of all shootings in New York City happen in the police precincts encompassing the 19th Senate District. Since day one, I’ve worked tirelessly with Assembly Member Jo Anne Simon to establish a New York State Firearm Violence Research Institute and today this critical effort comes to fruition. Under this new law, SUNY’s tremendous research capacity will be employed to identify solutions to solve gun violence, a public health crisis that disproportionately impacts New Yorkers, and many in my district. This bill would not have been possible without support from: New Yorkers Against Gun Violence, Gays Against Guns, Moms Demand Action, Giffords: Courage to Fight Gun Violence, Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, United Neighborhood Houses, and countless partners in government including fellow members of the Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic & Asian Legislative Caucus. I sincerely thank Governor Hochul for signing this long-overdue measure into law.”
Assemblymember Jo Anne Simon said, “Gun violence is a uniquely American problem that is plaguing our nation. I’m so pleased that Governor Hochul has signed this package of legislation into law to help address this public health issue. This legislation ensures a robust center for gun violence research to better understand and prevent gun-related violence, and it also allows citizens to easily contribute to these research efforts. Public policies related to major health and social concerns such as motor vehicle accidents, cancer, and tobacco have greatly benefited from in-depth research—and this legislation ensures the same approach with gun violence. I’m also thankful to the relentless work from the advocates and my legislative partners, Senator Roxanne Persaud and Senator Elijah Reichlin-Melnick,”
Legislation S.5952/A.2111 adds to the state tax law to provide taxpayers an option to fund the work of the Firearm Violence Research Institute. Taxpayers will be allowed to contribute directly toward the institute’s gun violence research.
State Senator Elijah Reichlin-Melnick said, “Thousands of Americans are killed by guns every year—it’s a national crisis and the number of victims just keeps rising. The causes of the gun violence epidemic are complex and finding solutions that work is extremely challenging. I’m proud to have sponsored this bill to create a gun violence research fund, which will empower our state universities to explore the root causes of gun violence and help create systemic solutions to save lives across New York State. I’m thankful for Governor Hochul’s partnership in signing this bill and committing to fighting back against gun violence with a data-informed approach.”
According to the Everytown for Gun Safety, 38,826 people die by guns throughout the country every year, and New York State has the second-lowest rate of gun death in the country, with a rate of 4.1 deaths per 100,000 people.
This bill package is the culmination of 25 years of gun violence prevention efforts. Starting in 1996, the federal government prohibited the expense of federal funds on gun violence research, which has resulted in decades of limited research in this field. Because of this, there were local efforts to combat the gun violence scourge, and starting in 2018, New York joined with seven other states, creating the Gun Violence Research Consortium, directed by SUNY’s Nelson A. Rockefeller Institute of Government. The Consortium has conducted a vast amount of public discussions and research reports on many gun violence issues. This research will be another step towards understanding why gun violence happens, its place in American society, and ways to prevent it in the future.