The Fourth of July weekend is known for cookouts and family gatherings across the country but here in New York State, there was a dark cloud that overshadowed the holiday festivities.

Gun violence was the story over the holiday weekend, including here in Western New York, as 21 people were shot in different incidents over the three days according to WKBW.

On Tuesday afternoon, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo declared a disaster emergency on gun violence, as he signed a new executive order.

The executive order is aimed to treat gun violence as a public health issue.

New York will handle gun violence and stopping it much like they did with the COVID-19 virus — by setting up different areas to aid gun violence.

That includes targeting gun violence “hotspots” with data and research, which is similar to what happened with the pandemic, where the state targeted virus outbreak hotspots.

Getting guns off the streets and rebuilding the community and police relationship are two other important areas of the new executive order — all in an attempt to put an end to the recent surge in gun violence across the state.

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Police departments statewide will now be required to submit incident-level data in their specific jurisdictions. This way the state can start tracking hotspots.

The executive order also creates a Governor’s Council on “Gun Violence Reduction.”

"We have to create jobs to keep these kids off the streets. New York State will pay 100% of the salary. We just want them to get training and a place to go," said Cuomo. "So they see a future."

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