New York State Department of Health Recognizes National Gun Violence Awareness Month

Department Reaffirms Commitment to Combatting Gun Violence

June 7 Marks National Gun Violence Awareness Day

ALBANY, N.Y. (June 6, 2024) – The New York State Department of Health recognizes National Gun Violence Awareness Month by acknowledging that gun violence is a public health issue, raising awareness about the profound impact gun violence has on communities, and creating prevention strategies. Friday, June 7 marks Gun Violence Awareness Day, which is acknowledged the first Friday in June. New Yorkers are encouraged to wear orange to honor survivors and people who have lost their lives to gun violence and to spread awareness about this public health crisis.

"Gun Violence is a public health crisis that continues to plague the nation and this state," State Health Commissioner Dr. James McDonald said. "As we observe Gun Violence Awareness Month and Gun Violence Awareness Day, the State Health Department reaffirms our commitment to addressing the root causes of gun violence, having meaningful and empathetic conversations about the issue, providing resources to rebuild communities, supporting families that have been devastated by gun violence, and creating effective prevention strategies."

Although preventable, gun violence is a leading cause of premature death in the United States, costing the country approximately $557 billion per year and New York approximately $11.4 billion per year. According to the Centers for Disease Control's (CDC) 2022 data, gun violence is the leading cause of death in the US. Additionally, black youth are 20 times more likely to die by firearm homicide than their white peers.

In 2021, New York State declared the first-in-the-nation gun violence disaster emergency under Executive Order 211 as part of a new, comprehensive strategy to build a safer New York. New York State's strategy treats gun violence as a public health crisis. Under this order, the Office of Gun Violence Prevention (OGVP) was established in the New York State Department of Health's Office of Health Equity and Human Rights.

OGVP is part of a larger violence prevention ecosystem that employs a multidisciplinary approach by working with agency partners across the state, including the Division of Criminal Justice Services and the Office of Victim Services.

The mission of OGVP is to build a statewide comprehensive, coordinated, and sustainable approach to preventing gun violence through the creation of equity with community-led, place-based prevention strategies.

With a focus on historically under-resourced New York State communities that experience the highest rates of gun violence, OGVP seeks to address the root causes of gun violence and contribute to the prevention and elimination of gun violence.

The Department remains committed to addressing gun violence and creating prevention strategies to combat this public health issue.

More information about the Office of Gun Violence Prevention can be found here.