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Capital Region News

After Nine Gun Homicides This Year, Albany Mayor Marks Gun Violence Awareness Day

Orange ribbons handed out in recognition of National Gun Violence Awareness Day
Dave Lucas
/
WAMC
Orange ribbons handed out in recognition of National Gun Violence Awareness Day

The city of Albany recognized National Gun Violence Awareness Day today.

“Over the last three and a half years 273 people have been shot in the city of Albany. 273 people. These were husbands, fathers, mothers daughters, nieces, nephews, family members,” said Albany Police Chief Eric Hawkins.

Albany has recorded nine shooting deaths so far in 2021, including some in broad daylight. Hawkins joined Mayor Kathy Sheehan, other local officials and representatives of anti-gun groups in front of City Hall, lamenting the mark gun violence has left on the capital city. Mayor Sheehan:

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Credit WAMC / Dave Lucas

“Our police recently confiscated a gun from, I believe it was, Alabama, and another from South Carolina. I believe those guns had been reported stolen. But we need a national effort to look at what is happening with gun trafficking. How are these guns getting into our community? You know, that is something that, you know, we need our federal partners, to create national laws to close these loopholes. So it is not so easy to acquire all of these guns.”

Hawkins and Sheehan wore orange ribbons to promote gun safety. Congressman Paul Tonko, also a Democrat, spoke about gun violence during a stop in Amsterdam.

“We've just got to bring common sense legislation to the table so that communities are safe for children are protected. There's no way you take a child to school you expect to pick that child's up at the end of day. And, you know, there is a lot of work that needs to be done.”

"There's no reason why somebody should be able to buy bits and pieces of certain elements, over the internet, delivered to their doorstep, so they can make a gun." ~ 108th District NYS Assemblyman John McDonald

Democratic State Assemblyman John McDonald says gun safety bills are on the way.

“The package of bills in the New York State Assembly, they’ll be similar to what was passed by the New York State Senate. Bills that are, from my perspective, common sense. There’s no reason why somebody should be able to buy bits and pieces of certain elements, over the internet, delivered to their doorstep, so they can make a gun.”

Police spokesman Steve Smith says officers have confiscated a few so-called “ghost guns.”

Sheehan noted that $1.5 million in CARES Act funding is still available from the city.

“And so we are looking for partners who can address violence and violence prevention programming. But I also want to make a distinction. We also need programming for our youth. And those are two separate things. Right? We don't call Colonie Youth Soccer ‘violence prevention.’ All right, our youth are precious. Our youth deserve access to the exact same resources as every other child. And so when we talk about the need for youth programming, let's not have that mixed up with violence prevention.”

Sheehan urges local organizations to contact city hall and  apply for CARES funded grants to help to respond to the growing effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, including increased gun violence.

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