The next coronavirus relief package should include money for gun violence prevention, U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand on Tuesday said.
Gillibrand wants $250 million in spending for gun violence prevention and intervention in the measure, pointing to increased gun sales and the strain on emergency health services.
Gun stores in New York have been closed since March, and some Republican lawmakers have called for them to be declared essential businesses during the pandemic.
Gillibrand's push includes $100 million for funding a grant program that supports community-based violence intervention programs. She also wants $150 million for a community-based violence intervention fund for local governments that helps them create models for programs like hospital-based biolence intervention and outreach programs for schools, law enforcement and businesses.
Gillibrand released a letter on Tuesday to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell calling for the funding.
“During these challenging times, safety in our homes and communities is more important than ever,” Gillibrand said. “The coronavirus outbreak has only amplified the gun violence epidemic in our country and it’s time we implement commonsense solutions to a problem that affects communities across the country. I will continue fighting to keep New Yorkers safe from gun violence as we fight this pandemic.”
The next coronavirus relief legislation is being closely watched in New York as Gov. Andrew Cuomo seeks billions of dollars in direct aid to bolster the state's finances, which have been ravaged by the economic shutdown during the pandemic.