Assembly, local governments launch gun-violence awareness effort

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The state Assembly, as well as city and county governments around the state, passed a resolution Wednesday naming June “Gun Violence Awareness Month,” which will mark the launch of a statewide effort to reduce gun violence.

Buffalo, Rochester, Yonkers, Syracuse and Albany are also on board for the awareness campaign, as well as Westchester County and Ulster County.

As part of the effort, lawmakers are planning summits throughout the state with community leaders to devise a plan to reduce gun violence. Each community will craft a series of “action steps,” Assemblyman Karim Camara, the bill’s sponsor, said at a news conference Wednesday.

“(In) some communities, it’s going to involve getting involved with gangs and settling so-called beefs between gang members,” said Camara, D-Brooklyn. “In others, it’s getting guns off the street through gun buy-back programs.”

The Senate sponsor, Mt. Vernon Democrat Ruth Hassell-Thompson, said black and Hispanic youth, particularly young men, are at high risk of being victims of gun violence.

Communities must get involved, she said.

“This is not just a government effort; it is being government-led, which is appropriate,” she said. “But it is important that all citizens become aware of what the devastation and the loss of young lives mean to every single community where this gun violence is so prominent.”

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