Activist looks for longevity in gun violence declaration

Albany County

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Gun violence is now considered a health emergency in New York State following Governor Cuomo’s executive order.

“It’s been an emergency. My question is what took so long?” said Bishop Avery Comithier.

The bishop has seen the destruction gun violence has had in his community. During the past couple months, he’s buried multiple victims, both children and adults, from his congregation.  

“A bullet doesn’t have a name to it and it’s tough. And the question always rises, why my daughter? Why my son?” Comithier said.

The preacher says while any action is a step in the right direction, short-term solutions are only band-aids. He’s out on the streets, a pastor on patrol, connecting with people who are already caught up in illegal activities.  

“There are young men who are out there and they’re carrying, and you know what they say to me? How you doing Rev,” Comithier said.

While Comitheir said more could be done, Harris Oberlander at Trinity Alliance thinks the executive order is exactly what the state needs.  

“What we still need to do is focus on neighborhoods and neighborhood revitalization and family stability,” Oberlander said.  

Trinity Alliance received a preview of Tuesday’s announcement. With the momentum the executive order brings, Oberlander said also should come other public policy to help quality of life issues.  

“That’s other policy. But he’s bringing in all of his main agencies to combat this problem,”Oberlander said.  

$139 million will address the rise in shootings across the state. It’s something Comiether hopes, in the long-term, will be more than a band-aid for a bullet wound.  

“History has taught us sometimes we’re angry and then it dies down. So you need something long-lasting,” Comiether said.   

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