ALBANY — New York is joining forces with its neighbors in the battle against gun violence.
Gov. Cuomo and the Democratic governors of Connecticut, New Jersey and Rhode Island announced the creation Thursday of the “States for Gun Safety” coalition to share resources and intelligence to curb gun trafficking and prevent dangerous individuals from purchasing guns.
“Today we are taking the next step in the evolution of state action,” Cuomo said during a conference call with the other governors.
Cuomo and his Democratic counterparts said the coalition was necessary because of the inability of the federal government and Congress to effectively deal with the issue of gun violence.
“This is a federal government that has gone backwards on this issue,” Cuomo said. “President Trump has pledged allegiance to the NRA.”
Under the plan announced by the governors Thursday, the four states will pool their data and intelligence sharing, including information on pending arrest warrants and orders of protection, to create a database that would be used to supplement the federal government’s background check database.
Cuomo indicated that information from New York’s mental health database — which was created as part of the state’s SAFE Act to keep mentally ill people deemed a threat to themselves or others from purchasing guns — would be shared the coalition partners.
The plan also calls for the creation of a cross-state task force to combat illegal gun trafficking and a new research consortium to examine gun violence.
“We have to remember that the federal government has had a provision in place for over 20 years that effectively bars the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from studying gun violence, so it has devolved to the states,” said New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy.
During the call, Cuomo slammed Republican leaders, including Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, for offering no meaningful steps to address gun violence in the wake of last week’s massacre of 17 students at high school in Parkland, Fla.
Cuomo described the measures recently floated in Washington, including a ban on so-called bump-stocks and an increase in the age at which teens can purchase assault rifles, as “crumbs” that would do little to curb violence.
“Right now, you have the high school students showing more leadership than the leaders in Washington,” Cuomo said.