NEW YORK (CBSNewYork)Gov. Andrew Cuomo has made an unprecedented move to help end gun violence, declaring a new state disaster emergency.

As people were out enjoying a sunny Fourth of July in the Hunts Point section of the Bronx, a man casually walked along Hunts Point Avenue and opened fire on a 34-year-old man. The shooting added to a disturbing increase in gun violence in New York City.

“I want to go on vacation because of gun violence every day,” one resident told CBS2’s Hazel Sanchez on Tuesday.

“We went from one epidemic to another. We went from COVID to the epidemic of gun violence,” Cuomo said.

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This year to date, there have been 765 shooting in the city, compared to 555 shootings during the same time last year, a nearly 38% increase. On Tuesday, the governor declared a first-of-its-kind state disaster emergency on gun violence.

“We want to do with gun violence what we just did with COVID. That’s what we want. We want the same level of attention, the same level of energy,” Cuomo said.

The governor’s disaster plan will:

  • Create a new Office of Gun Violence Prevention, to treat the problem as a public health issue
  • Local police departments will share incident information to target gun violence hot spots
  • $138.7 million will be invested in prevention programs and jobs for at-risk youth
  • It will also create a new state police gun trafficking unit to stop the flow of illegal guns into New York

“That’s the question. How they coming here. How they getting here?” one person said.

NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea said in combatting gun violence, much of the police department’s focus is on gangs. He said about half of the shootings reported in the city are gang related.

“I think the state and the country should be doing everything possible to reduce gun violence, and mostly that means getting guns out of people’s hands,” said Laura Gold of the Upper West Side.

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The governor also signed new legislation that will hold gun manufacturers accountable if their weapons cause harm. It also bans the sale of guns to people with outstanding warrants for a felony or serious offense.

Cuomo also announced a new state partnership with John Jay College of Criminal Justice, to help find ways to improve police and community relations.

Hazel Sanchez