Bronxville Reformed Church Hosts
Conversation on Gun Violence
Kate Milliken Vaughey, Director of Communications, Bronxville Reformed Church; Bronxville Police Sergeant Nicholas DeYoung; Mary Mackintosh, Director of Missional Engagement, Bronxville Reformed Church.
Congressman Jamaal Bowman, Ed.D., NY 16; SNUG Program Manager Robert Carter, Family Services of Westchester, Mount Vernon.
Sonya Gaffney, Clinic Director, Family Services of Westchester
Mayor Shawyn Patterson-Howard, Mount Vernon
By Stephen E. Lipken
SNUG Program Manager Robert Carter, Family Services of Westchester (FSW), Mount Vernon, appeared at a “Community Conversation on the Crisis of Gun Violence” at Bronxville Reformed Church (BRC) on September 8th. According to Carter, the goal at SNUG (guns spelled backwards) is to reverse shooting deaths, creating an awareness campaign by conducting special activities that speak out against violence.
Joining Carter were Congressman Jamaal Bowman; Bronxville Police Sergeant Nicholas DeYoung; FSW Clinic Director Sonya Gaffney and Mount Vernon Mayor Shawyn Patterson-Howard. The Conversation was monitored by Mary Mackintosh, BRC Director of Missional Engagement.
BRC Senior Minister Matt Waterstone welcomed the public, expressing the hope to have “connected, difficult and important conversations.”
Mackintosh noted that guns are the leading cause of children’s deaths in the United States, saying that between 2015-2018, 35,000 pupils were killed before their 18th birthday. Since the 1999 Columbine Shooting in Littleton, CO, 225,000 K-12 students in the U.S. have experienced a shooting at their school.
Sergeant DeYoung said that their Active Shooter Response Training is conducted 2-3 times per year as well as working with County and Federal law enforcement agencies to assess Social Media threats, often a prelude to gun violence.
Mayor Patterson-Howard pointed to the Mount Vernon Police Violent Crimes Unit, part of the Detective Division, the goal being to recover guns. She stated that Mount Vernon has partnerships with Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF); Westchester FBI Task Forceand SNUG, identifying those likely to use guns. Howard pointed out that most shooters in Mount Vernon were over 35.
Mackintosh mentioned that Patterson-Howard is a Co-Chair of Mayors Against Illegal Guns, Officer of African-American Mayors Association and is involved with Moms Demand Action.
Patterson-Howard added that guns are also used in domestic violence and suicides.
Bowman remarked that the House passed a Bill, HR 8, focused on guns trafficking into New York State. “The Safer Communities Act makes gun trafficking a federal crime…
“President Biden has put a ban on ‘ghost guns,’ weapons that cannot be traced.” Noting that 91% of female gun violence victims were killed by male partners, Bowman stressed that mental health, poverty, substance abuse and low-income communities of color must also be addressed.