NEWBURGH – New York State Attorney General Letitia James spent several hours last Thursday in the City of Newburgh.
James met with local business owners, had lunch at Pamela’s on the Hudson, before arriving at the Newburgh Free Library for a short walking tour, then speaking at a gun buyback program her office was conducting.
“I hope you brought your walking shoes,” Newburgh Mayor Torrance Harvey said when he greeted James outside the library. But before Harvey could take her on the walking tour, they spent 15 minutes greeting elected officials (and hopefuls), including Orange County Executive Steve Neuhaus, New York State Senator James Skoufis, New York State Assemblyman Jonathan Jacobson, and Councilmembers, Anthony Grice, Robert Sklarz, Ramona Monteverde and Omari Shakur and Newburgh Enlarged City School Superintendent Roberto Padilla and School Board Vice-President Philip Howard.
James, with a contingent of about 25 people, made her way up Grand Street to Broadway before stopping at the empty lot near the DMV to speak. Mayor Harvey pointed out several highlights along the short route including SUNY Orange, the Karpeles Manuscript Museum, and City Hall. He also pointed out the Liberty Street corridor improvement project currently underway, as well as the new sidewalks near where James would speak.
“I just love coming to Newburgh! It’s special,” James said, after greeting people from the local chapter of the NAACP, Orange County Health Department’s Healthy Orange Program and Cornerstone Family Healthcare, who were administering COVID-19 vaccine shots.
“I want to make sure that children and grandparents can walk the streets without the fear of gun violence,” James said. Acknowledging there has been way too much gun violence in the state of New York, James says her office is committed to taking guns off the streets.
With more than 1,000 guns turned in at local gun buyback programs, James says that is not enough. “We cannot just do gun buybacks. That alone is not enough,” she said. James thanked Senator Skoufis and Assemblyman Jacobson for passing a bill that would allow the Attorney General to go after gun manufactures and gun distributors in those places where they sell guns illegally.
James noted there is a federal law which bans the Attorney General from taking any action, against any gun manufacture saying, “That is the law that Congress passed.” James continued, “All you individuals with lawful guns, I have no problem with that.”
“As I expand gun buybacks all throughout the state, I want to provide social services and human services, and in exchange for a gun in the hand of child what I want to do is replace it with housing, with jobs, summer programs, that’s what we want to do,” James said to applause.
“There’s nothing more important than getting guns out of circulation. It affects everybody. Random shooting, suicides, domestic violence, so anytime we can a gun out of circulation it’s a successful day,” NY State Assemblyman Jacobson said.
“Public safety is critical,” NY State Senator James Skoufis said, continuing, “bringing the gun buyback program to Newburgh makes our streets safer.”