Gun Safety Advocates and Champions today Rallied for Fair Access to Victim Compensation, Medicaid Reimbursement, Ammunition Tax, and Repealing Qualified Immunity
ALBANY, N.Y. — Today, New York Moms Demand Action, Students Demand Action volunteers and survivors, part of Everytown for Gun Safety’s grassroots network, gathered for their annual Advocacy Day at the Empire Plaza to discuss legislative priorities and meet with lawmakers to advocate for gun safety measures to be passed and implemented during this legislative session. This year’s Advocacy Day also coincides with the 10-year celebration of Moms Demand Action.
“Our grassroots movement has been on the frontlines making New York a national leader in the fight to end gun violence: from advocating for first-of-its-kind legislation to hold bad actors in the gun industry accountable to being the first state to keep guns out of places they should not belong like playgrounds, bars, and voting places following Supreme Court’s dangerous Bruen decision,” said Alexis Gevanter, a volunteer with the New York chapter of Moms Demand Action. “We know our work is not done and look forward to partnering with lawmakers this upcoming session to continue strengthening New York’s gun safety laws and protecting our communities from gun violence.”
Thanks to Moms Demand Action volunteers, New York has changed the calculus on gun safety and has the second strongest gun laws in the country. They have worked tirelessly over the last 10 years to secure landmark legislative wins in New York from passing a first-in-the-nation bill that would provide survivors of gun violence and state authorities a path to hold bad actors in the gun industry accountable and regulating ghost guns — untraceable, unserialized firearms that pose an increasing threat to the safety of New Yorkers — to enacting an extreme risk law, strengthening the background check system, and strengthening the state’s secure firearm storage laws. Most recently, volunteers worked urgently with gun sense champions to address the dangerous Supreme Court decision in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen by strengthening the state’s concealed carry licensing laws and establishing a robust list of sensitive locations where guns may not be carried in New York, including playgrounds, bars and restaurants that serve alcohol, mass transit, and polling places.
This legislative session, volunteers will be advocating for the following:
- Lawmakers to ensure fair access to victim compensation by passing S214.Victim compensation funds are critical resources for victims of gun violence and other violent crimes. However, several eligibility requirements make victim compensation inaccessible for many communities of color, members of the LGBTQIA+ community, working class people, disabled people, and immigrants. Making victim compensation funds more accessible is in the best interest of building stronger, safer communities across New York.
- Lawmakers to pass S580 which will allow for Medicaid reimbursement for community violence intervention programs (CVI) — opening up a new and consistent funding stream and ensuring that victims and communities receive the support they need. Hospitals in partnership with community violence prevention programs, could receive federal support to treat their patients’ immediate injuries and help prevent their future physical and mental harm by ensuring consistent care and centering CVI workers as a reliable access point.
- Lawmakers to end qualified immunity by passing S182. Police violence is gun violence, and like any bad actors, there should be accountability for law enforcement officers who fail to act in accordance with the law and abuse their authority in ways that harm those they are sworn to protect. Qualified immunity makes it nearly impossible to sue a police officer or the departments that employ them for violating an individual’s rights.
- Lawmakers to add an excise tax onto the commercial sale of firearm ammunition by passing S270. Proceeds from the new tax would entirely go toward funding the Community Violence Intervention and Prevention Fund. The Fund will be used to support grants to local governments and nonprofits for the implementation of community- or hospital-based violence intervention programs. The tax closely tracks the rate of the existing NY State sales tax, ensuring that ammunition remains affordable for gun owners, while also creating another dependable funding stream for critical gun violence prevention programs that support victims of gun violence.
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.
To speak to a local volunteer with Moms Demand Action, a volunteer with Students Demand Action, or a policy expert, please don’t hesitate to reach out.