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Bloomberg: Efforts Against Gun Violence In New York Have Vastly Outpaced Nation

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Mayor Michael Bloomberg on Sunday touted a new report from the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, which said the city's reduction in gun violence has vastly outpaced the rest of the nation.

The study measured the change in firearms-related deaths and injuries between 2000 and 2011, and showed a dramatic decline in New York City. In 2000, the city saw 524 gun-related homicides, compared with just 366 in 2011.

"That's in sharp contrast to the national trend, which showed no decline over the same period," Bloomberg said in his weekly radio address Sunday.


The city's 2011 firearms death rate was 4.3 per 100,000 – less than half the national rate of 10 per 100,000, the study said. The city's firearm homicide rate also ranks low among the counties containing the nation's 25 most populous cities, and the city's firearm suicide rate is the lowest among them, the study said.

"Our success at keeping guns off our streets has meant that our city's overall firearms fatality rate is less than half the rate of the rest of the country, and it's markedly lower than that of other major cities," Bloomberg said.

Weapon-carrying among New York City public school students is also below the national average, the study said.

Bloomberg credited the city's tough gun laws and law enforcement policies for the dramatic change over 11 years.

"Here in New York City, we've done everything possible to take illegal guns off the streets, and that includes helping to pass the toughest law in the nation against illegal possession of a loaded gun. It also includes smart, proactive policing that makes it much more likely that if you break our city's gun laws, you'll be caught," he said.

He noted that the trend continues to improve.

"Last year, we cut murder to an all-time low, and so far this year, it's down another 34 percent, and shooting is also down another 25 percent," Bloomberg said.

But this does not mean the situation is perfect when it comes to gun violence in New York City, Bloomberg emphasized.

"As far as we've come, though, the fact is that gun violence remains a serious problem. The study found that's especially true in some New York communities. East New York, Crown Heights, Central Harlem and the South Bronx have the highest rates of firearms death and injury in the entire city – twice the city's average," he said.

Bloomberg also took issue with the U.S. Senate for failing to pass gun control legislation earlier this month. Despite hopes that the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre in Newtown, Conn., would spur action, Senate Republicans – and some Democrats – rejected bipartisan legislation that in particular would have expanded background checks.

"Every day, 33 Americans are murdered with firearms, and in the wake of Congress' recent refusal to listen to the American people and take action, 12,000 of our citizens will be murdered with guns this year alone," Bloomberg said. "The special interests would have us believe that we're powerless to stop the bloodshed, but New Yorkers know better."

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