The horrific mass shootings at a Buffalo supermarket and an elementary school in Texas have shaken me to the core. I am sure you feel the same. There are no words to adequately express my anger and heartbreak over the continued loss of lives to gun violence and murderers.
Parents should not have to bury their children. Children should be able to go to school and be safe. Families should be able to go to the grocery store. People should be able to go to church and take public transportation. New Yorkers should be able to do all these things without fear of losing their lives.
You should be able to leave your house and expect to come home.
New York is recognized as having the toughest gun laws in the nation. We must ensure these laws are enforced. This is an issue that also demands attention at the federal level because crime has no borders.
We need to give law enforcement the power and the tools to get more illegal guns off the streets and keep our communities safe.
We need to make sure our schools are secure and our children are protected. I have been a strong advocate for School Resource Officers and believe every school building should have an SRO. We should also work together with schools, parents, law enforcement and communities to ensure schools are equipped for maximum safety. I have also fought for mental health access and treatment and support for our children and families at home, at school and in their communities.
We know that the law is meaningless to criminals. Yet we must do everything in our power to hold them accountable. That is why I have spoken out about policies enacted in New York over the last several years that prioritize criminals over public safety – laws that put criminals right back out on our streets.
Further, it is unacceptable that a state domestic terrorism task force created two years ago to recommend ways to prevent mass shootings has never met.
In addition, I believe we have to be better as a society. We have to do more to support and care for one another. Hate, racism and intolerance must have no place in New York or anywhere.
We can all agree there is more we can do to help prevent these tragedies and ensure the safety of our children and loved ones. As your State Senator, I am always willing to listen and be part of the solution.
Please, if you see something, say something. Call 911 or your local law enforcement. Let’s keep each other safe.