N.Y. gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) (Getty Images)

N.Y. gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) (Getty Images)

(CNS News) — New York Governor Andrew Cuomo (D) announced on Tuesday an executive order declaring a “Disaster Emergency on gun violence,” and calling it a “public health crisis.” 

“We wasted so much time and money in this nation fighting illegal immigration. Illegal immigration is not killing Americans, illegal guns are killing Americans,” said Cuomo at a Tuesday press conference

“Today, I am issuing an Executive Order declaring a Disaster Emergency on gun violence. Gun violence is a public health crisis, and we must treat it like one. This declaration will allow us to give this crisis the full attention & resources it deserves,” he said in a tweet.

The governor laid out seven key areas in which New York plans to target gun violence: treat gun violence like a public health emergency; target hotspots with data and science; positive engagement for at-risk youth; break the cycle of escalating violence; get illegal guns off the streets; keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people; and rebuild the police-community relationship.

According to Cuomo, shootings are up 38% in NYC compared to the first six months of 2020. He also noted that New York has the strongest gun laws in the country. 

He blamed the rise in gun violence on out-of-state guns being trafficked into the state, despite the correlation of crime and rising poverty and unemployment rates because of the pandemic lockdowns. 

(Getty Images)

(Getty Images)

“Why do you need an assault rifle to hunt a deer?” Cuomo posed to the audience. He is presumably referring to an AR-15, which stands for Armalite rifle, but is commonly mistaken for “assault rifle.” 

New York is the first state in the nation to declare a disaster emergency on gun violence, Cuomo announced

During the conference, Cuomo’s presentation stressed that, “Gun violence is fundamentally an issue of access to guns.”

“We want to do with gun violence, what we just did with COVID,” he said.

Ironically, Cuomo found himself deep in controversy for his decision to send COVID-positive patients into nursing homes during the pandemic. According to Nursing Home 411, more than 15,000 residents died as a result. 

Earlier this year, The Wall Street Journal reported that advisers for the governor apparently had altered a report on the nursing home deaths, leaving out those who had been infected in facilities but later died in the hospital.