Queens to host town hall on gun violence

Queens Borough President Melinda Katz (left) and LIFE Camp Inc. founder Erica Ford (second from right) with Parkland school shooting survivors and gun control advocates David Hogg (second from left) and Emma Gonzalez in Queens last year. Photo via Borough Hall.

Queens Borough President Melinda Katz (left) and LIFE Camp Inc. founder Erica Ford (second from right) with Parkland school shooting survivors and gun control advocates David Hogg (second from left) and Emma Gonzalez in Queens last year. Photo via Borough Hall.

By Jonathan Sperling

More than 40 people have been shot in Queens so far this year, but an upcoming Queens town hall on gun violence aims to bring that number down to zero.

Borough President Melinda Katz and Public Advocate Jumaane Williams are teaming up with community organizations to host the Town Hall on Gun Violence on May 30 at 6:00 p.m. at Queens Borough Hall. The event takes place two days before the start of Gun Violence Awareness Month in June.

The open public forum will be a place for community groups, city agencies and law enforcement members to discuss how to disarm violence in Queens and to address gun violence as a public health crisis.

“We cannot cure the epidemic of gun violence solely through policing and locking up those who run afoul of the law,” Katz said in a statement. “If we’re serious about ridding our society of the scourge of gun violence everywhere, we must deconstruct the normalization of gun violence. It is imperative that as a city, we direct our collective focus toward prevention through the promotion of peace and intervention, as well as increasing resources to investigate and prosecute those who traffic guns into our communities.”

Representatives from 696 Build Queensbridge, Fathers Alive in the Hood (F.A.I.T.H.), King of Kings Foundation, LIFE Camp, Inc., Rock Safe Streets – A Sheltering Arms Program and Transitional Services for New York, Inc. will also be on hand to discuss initiatives that encourage people to serve as positive influences in their communities.

“The 696 Build Queensbridge team is enthusiastic to collaborate with Queens Borough President Melinda Katz and Public Advocate Jumaane Williams for the Queens Borough Town Hall on Gun Violence,” said K. Bain, founding program director of 696 Build Queensbridge in a statement. “These conversations are critical for communities like Queensbridge where gun violence is too often overlooked and misunderstood.”

NYPD CompStat data shows a large drop in crime — including gun violence — in Queens since the 1990s, but shooting incidents have seen a resurgence in recent months. Through the end of April, there were 43 reported shootings across Queens in 2019. Queens North saw 18 of those shootings, up from only seven through the first four months of 2018.

In February, a man was shot and killed in broad daylight after an altercation on the No. 7 train platform in Jackson Heights. Another man was left dead after a double shooting in Flushing in January.

To attend the event or find out more information, RSVP at www.queensbp.org/rsvp or call 718-286-2661.