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New York City Mayor Eric Adams rolls out plan to stop gun violence

New York City Mayor Eric Adams rolls out plan to stop gun violence
New York City Mayor Eric Adams on Monday released the city's "Blueprint to End Gun Violence." File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

Jan. 24 (UPI) -- New York City Mayor Eric Adams on Monday rolled out a "Blueprint to End Gun Violence."

The 15-page plan released includes deploying more officers on the streets and subways, bringing the courts to full capacity and addressing mental health and social issues.

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"I've been at the bedside of a police officer who was shot by a 16-year-old as they struggled for a gun," Adams said in a speech Monday ahead of releasing the plan.

"I've seen a toddler's blood-stained pink jacket in the street. I have held hands and prayed with a mother... an 11-month-old baby was shot in the head by a gunman who didn't care where those bullets went. And on Friday night, two officers were ambushed when they answered a domestic violence call."

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NYPD officer Jason Rivera, 22, was killed while on duty, and another officer, Wilbert Mora, 27, was injured, he said.

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"This is not just a plan for the future -- it is a plan for right now," Adams said. "Gun violence is a public health crisis. We have no time to wait. We must act."

Adams said the plan would put more officers on patrol, and focus on neighborhood safety teams, with "deep focus on 30 precincts where 80% of violence occurs," adding that officers will have body cameras and they will have "advanced training and oversight."

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Adams said they will also enhance the partnership between NYPD and New York State Police, including sharing critical law enforcement data and supporting inter-state gun tracing consortium.

He pointed out that there are no gun manufacturers in the city and that the NYPD removed 6,000 guns from the city's streets last year, but guns continue to pour into the streets.

"We know that new guns are arriving by car, by bus, and by train every day," he said.

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To address this issue under the plan, the NYPD will work with state law enforcement to implement spot checks at entry points like Port Authority Bus Terminal and other bus and train stations, and will also use new technology tools, such as facial recognition technology, to spot those carrying weapons.

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Adams also emphasized improving access to mental health services and jobs as part of the plan.

"Gun violence is not only a law enforcement issue, it is a social issue and a community issue," he said. "We must address the root causes these challenges."

In particular, he mentioned a Quality of Life Task Force to pull law together enforcement and mental health professionals together with other city leaders as needed to help ensure the mentally ill are being offered the resources they need.

He also cited the need for an "infusion of federal support and funding" to support the plan.

In the area of jobs, Adams said his administration would start an "unprecedented summer youth employment," program to help prevent the gun violence spike during the summer months. The program will include partnering with large businesses in the city to provide paid internship opportunities.

Another part of the plan included re-examining "Raise the Age" legislation, which he said was being used as a loophole for gang members to get people under 18 to carry their guns for them.

"Children are being used as pawns," he said. "If a 16- or 17-year-old is arrested on a gun charge, the NYPD should ask the individual where they got the gun from. If the individual refuses to disclose that information prosecutors should have the ability to charge the individual in criminal court, rather than family court."

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Adams also called for immediately working though the DNA testing backlog that has delayed cases.

He also advised changing the social distancing rules due to the COVID-19 pandemic in courtrooms from 6 feet to 3 feet, which he said would improve efficiency, noting that public schools already had moved to a 3-foot-rule.

Over the weekend, the mayor said the plan would include a "plain-clothed, anti-gun unit," which would have a visible presence in the subway system.

He also said he planned to "flood" the subway system with mental health professionals.

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