Schumer pushes for more funding in the fight against gun violence

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Racquel Stephen / WXXI News US Senate Majority Leady Chuck Schumer holds a vial of insulin to underscore the Affordable Insulin Now Act.

SYRACUSE, NY (WRVO) – Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) is launching a major push to get more help in Syracuse’s fight against gun violence.

During a visit to Syracuse this week, Schumer said the city’s epidemic of gun violence over the last two years can be confronted with community-based violence intervention programs. He said these programs work.

“We’ll be paid back many times over with greater peace in our communities, less violence in our communities,” Schumer said. “Less people injured who have to be taken care of, so it’s a really great investment.”

These programs are offering services that address trauma, provided opportunity, and improve the social and economic conditions that drive violence in the first place.

“The bottom line is, this is something new and exciting and works. And it treats our young people as people of value who have a future, and that is so important to them,” he said. “And it works in place, after place, after place.”

In Syracuse, it would mean a boost for programs like SNUG (guns spelled backward), an anti-violence program which focuses on community engagement, mentoring, and support for those suffering from gun-related trauma.

Right now there is $50 million in grants from the Department of Justice, and Schumer wants to quadruple that number to $250 million. This potential funding comes as Mayor Ben Walsh’s new Office to Reduce Gun Violence, led by Lateef Johnson-Kinsey, gets off the ground. Deputy Mayor Sharon Owens said the timing couldn’t be better.

“We have Lateef on board, we have our consultant coming in working with Lateef on a community-wide assessment, and then we have this opportunity for resources, so we can weave together a safety net for these individuals.”