Far Rockaway, NY-Congressman Gregory W. Meeks of the Sixth Congressional District release the following statement:
"I recently visited with the family of Patrick Hernandez a young college bound student who tragically died of gun violence and shared with them my heartfelt condolence for their loss. It saddens me that a young talent such as Patrick was gunned down senselessly. Many community leaders, residents, non-governmental organizations and elected officials including myself have toiled for years to make Far Rockaway a place where families could blossom and businesses could thrive. I know that if there is one thing that threatens Far Rockaway's prospects and possibilities for progress it is crime, particularly gun violence. Most victims were young, Black, and male.
"Many reasons are given for the increase in gun violence and the toll it is taking on individuals, families, communities, hospitals, and costs to society. Some point to gang activity. Some point the finger at hip hop culture and "gangsta rap." Some note the violence in movies and on TV. Some suggest that the root cause is poverty, poor education, and disenfranchisement. Some insist that it is the availability of guns. All of these reasons may be factors in the alarming increase in gun violence. There's no question that the availability of illegal guns is part of the mix. The recent landmark Supreme Court ruling overturning a law banning handguns in Washington, DC may have gone to far and backfire right in our communities. There are an estimated 250 million guns in circulation in America. That's more than one gun for every adult in America 18 years of age or older.
"As a community and as individual members of this community we cannot accept, rationalize, or dismiss conduct like the recent shooting. Nothing justifies this kind of behavior which puts us all at risk as individuals and as a community. Gun-related crime jeopardizes all that we are building, all the future progress that we are planning, all of our hopes for a brighter and better Far Rockaway for the families which call the peninsula home.
"I will continue to work with my colleagues in the State and City government to collaborate on strategic problem solving approach to reduce gun violence and other crimes in our community. I ask all New Yorkers of good faith to keep the Hernandez Family in your thoughts and prayers."