One could say this about many cities around New York City; the population and number of young people of color are disproportionately affected, and the poor and working class are targeted in the process. While it has not been widely mentioned in the media, many African-Americans have been targeted specifically when New York and other major cities, like Baltimore and Los Angeles, have been experiencing gun violence (see: “Can Gun Violence Affect the Black Community?”, August 21, 2015). Although New York is not immune to gun violence, it is not as prevalent an issue and not as concentrated within the city as other cities at this time in history. This was especially true in the wake of September 11, 2001, when many black New Yorkers were still struggling with the immediate aftermath of a violent terrorist attack on the city, while some of the nation’s best trained police officers were still recovering from combat.
“The problem is not racial,” said one New York City police officer to The New York Times in September 2002. “There always has and always will be a problem. The problem with that is the public doesn’t know about it.”
Since these shootings, more than a dozen New York City-area gun stores have been forced to close their doors as a result of stricter gun control measures, and local laws restricting weapons sales. As a result, gun violence in New York City has fallen greatly among young people in recent years. However, because of strict regulations in some parts of the country (and the state of New York) that prevent guns and ammunition from being sold in the same way as other products by the same retailer, there are still plenty of guns on the streets, including handguns that shoot high-powered ammunition from .22-caliber to 9-millimeter, rifles with high-capacity magazines of ammunition that can hold up to 40 rounds, and shotguns that shoot 30- and 40-round magazines. While many gun dealers close under the pressure of new gun control laws, they are likely to close as a result of the recent shooting deaths in the restaurant.
Many New Yorkers agree that gun deaths are just part of a larger trend in the city, one that has left many residents feeling insecure about their own safety. According to a CBS News poll conducted last summer, just over 60 percent of New York City residents believe gun violence in the city is a “critical part of crime problems in the city.” This survey was conducted between April 13 and May 2, 2013.
New York City Council Member Jumaane Williams (D-Brook
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