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Montefiore in the News

March 21, 2013

Victims, Advocates Encourage Widespread Adoption of New York Gun Act

New York, NY (March 21, 2013) – A newly formed coalition of gun violence victims and New York City and state advocates will hold a rally today in Harlem in support of the NY SAFE Act, which was recently signed into law by Gov. Andrew Cuomo and is one of the nation’s toughest gun laws. Steven M. Safyer, M.D., president and CEO of Montefiore Medical Center, will represent the health care community in encouraging other states and the federal government to adopt legislation modeled after the NY SAFE Act.

In the Bronx, home to Montefiore, homicide rates are the highest of the city’s five boroughs, and two out of every three homicide deaths involves a gun. Since January, there have been 36 shooting incidents that wounded 42 people, including children and the elderly.

“As healthcare workers, we see the impact of gun violence every day, both in our emergency department in crisis and for ongoing care of children and young adults who have been permanently disabled as a result of gunshot wounds,” Dr. Safyer said.

Yet the ripple effects of gun violence go far beyond the pain brought to victims or their loved ones.  “People live in fear, and this inhibits our communities from being the healthy, safe environments where everyone can thrive and where children can achieve their potential. I’m confident Gov. Cuomo’s gun control law is a major step forward in protecting our communities from senseless violence.”

The coalition is comprised of a diverse group of community leaders, activists and organizations including 17-time Grammy Award Winner Tony Bennett, Rev. Al Sharpton and New York Voices Against Gun Violence. Coalition members also include advocates, victims, youth organizations, healthcare workers, unions, elected officials, faith leaders and artists.

Gov. Cuomo’s Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement (SAFE) Act, passed in January, bans high-capacity magazines and assault weapons and is designed to keep guns out of the hands of convicted felons and the mentally ill.