Northwell CEO Supports Bipartisan Gun Safety Compromise, Criticizes Supreme Court Ruling on NY’s “Concealed Carry” Law

Northwell Health President & CEO Michael J. Dowling today issued the following statement about the bipartisan agreement reached in the Senate on Tuesday on gun safety legislation and the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that struck down New York State’s “concealed carry” law.

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Northwell Health President and CEO Michael Dowling speaks with Lonnie and Sandy Phillips, advocates for gun violence survivors, at a Northwell Health Center for Gun Violence Prevention event on June 21. Credit Northwell Health

Northwell Health President and CEO Michael Dowling speaks with Lonnie and Sandy Phillips, advocates for gun violence survivors, at a Northwell Health Center for Gun Violence Prevention event on June 21. Credit Northwell Health

“I applaud the Senate’s bipartisan agreement reached Tuesday on a compromise bill that I believe will help curb the rising tide of gun violence in this country. While the legislation does not go as far as we’d like, it’s the most significant improvement to our nation’s gun laws since the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act was approved in 1993. I congratulate Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy for leading this effort and thank the 14 Republican senators who had the courage to stand up to the National Rifle Association and others who espouse the phony argument that common-sense gun safety measures infringe on Second Amendment rights.

“Despite the good news on the legislative front, I’m troubled by the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision today to strike down the common-sense limits that New York State places on carrying guns in public. Undercutting efforts by states and cities to craft their own gun laws will only exacerbate the surge in shootings we’ve seen in recent years. I strongly agree with Governor Hochul that this was a reckless and reprehensible decision. I look forward to the work that she and our legislative leaders are now undertaking to determine New York’s best, most effective response. Northwell Health stands ready to support these efforts in whatever ways are necessary.

“In Washington, meanwhile, the Senate may act on gun safety legislation as soon as today. While it does not ban assault weapons or raise the age for owning them, the bill would strengthen background checks on young people looking to buy firearms. Being that guns have surpassed motor vehicle crashes as the nation’s No. 1 cause of death among young people and many of the recent mass shootings – including Uvalde and Buffalo – have involved teenagers, anything that we can do to keep guns out of the hands of young people is a step in the right direction.

“The bill also includes $750 million to help states implement “red flag” laws that allow families and law enforcement to temporarily remove someone’s guns if their behavior indicates they’re a danger to themselves or others.

“Perhaps most importantly, the bill includes substantial funding to expand mental health services, including $150 million to support a national suicide prevention hotline (about half of the nation’s 45,000 annual gun deaths are suicides), $240 million for programs that focus on mental health support and trauma care for school children, and $60 million to provide behavioral health training for primary care physicians.

“In addition, it includes $250 million for community violence intervention and prevention initiatives that hospitals and health systems have supported to address some of the underlying causes of this public health crisis. Many young people who are living in communities with high rates of gun violence experience significant levels of trauma, which impacts their ability to succeed in school and navigate situations that far-too-often lead to shootings. Intervention programs can help break the cycle of violence by helping young people to better cope with the stress and trauma they experience in their day-to-day interactions with others in their schools and communities.

“I’m also encouraged that the bill would narrow the so-called “boyfriend loophole.” This is significant because intimate partner violence and gun violence are inextricably linked, impacting millions of women and families across the country. It’s estimated that every month, an average of 70 women are shot and killed by an intimate partner. Here at Northwell, one of our own employees was shot and killed March 31 by an estranged boyfriend outside her medical office in New Hyde Park.

“As health care professionals who see the impact of gun violence every day in our trauma centers, we all hold our collective breath hoping that the House and Senate will do the right thing in the coming days and approve the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act. It won’t bring back the 29 victims of the Buffalo and Uvalde massacres, but at least some good will come out of those horrific events.

“In the meantime, we must continue the fight to achieve even more meaningful reforms that will preserve public health and make our communities safer.”

New York State’s largest health system created the Northwell Health Center for Gun Violence Prevention to invest in gun violence research, develop best practices for hospitals, and mobilize a national coalition of health care leaders to de-polarize gun safety and tackle this public health crisis.

About Northwell Health

Northwell Health is New York State’s largest health care provider and private employer, with 21 hospitals, 850 outpatient facilities and more than 12,000 affiliated physicians. We care for over two million people annually in the New York metro area and beyond, thanks to philanthropic support from our communities. Our 79,000 employees – 18,900 nurses and 4,900 employed doctors, including members of Northwell Health Physician Partners – are working to change health care for the better. We’re making breakthroughs in medicine at the Feinstein Institutes for Medical Research. We're training the next generation of medical professionals at the visionary Donald and Barbara Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell and the Hofstra Northwell School of Nursing and Physician Assistant Studies. For information on our more than 100 medical specialties, visit and follow us @NorthwellHealth on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.


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