New York is preparing to pass a series of new gun control bills in response to the deadly shootings in Buffalo and Texas, including raising the minimum age to purchase a semi-automatic rifle from 18 to 21.
The 10-bill package includes an increase to the minimum age to buy a semiautomatic rifle to 21-years old and a license requirement to purchase the rifle. It also bans the purchase of bulletproof vests unless otherwise authorized, and will force the future use of microstamping once the state Division of Criminal Justice Services judges it is possible to implement the gun-tracing technology.
“This is just part of the action I’m taking to make sure New Yorkers can feel safe in schools, in grocery stores, in movie theaters, in shopping malls and on our streets,” NY Gov. Kathy Hochul said in a statement. “I’ll keep doing everything in my power to protect them.”
“We’re going to have a package that people are going to be proud of, and it’s going to close some of the loopholes, but also say that 18 year olds who cannot buy a beer at the local bar should not be able to buy an assault weapon,” Hochul later added. “We’re going to change that immediately.”
The legislation would also establish a new “Task Force on Social Media and Violent Extremism,” designed to “study, investigate and make recommendations relating to the use of social media in facilitating the planning of acts of violence; and facilitate the ability of the State to seek damages or other relief for bias-related harassment.”
Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins told reporters this week that lawmakers in New York are looking to bolster current gun laws after the state’s background checks and “Red Flag” gun confiscation laws failed to prevent the shooting in Buffalo, where 10 people were killed, Politico reported.
“We’ve done a lot. On the national level, they are talking about the things that we’ve already done,” Stewart-Cousins said. “So we continue to lead, and to try to answer the moment as it occurs.”
Rebecca Fischer, the executive director of New Yorkers Against Gun Violence, said the package was “very comprehensive” in its approach to address gun violence, which she referred to as a “public health crisis.”
Opponents of the proposed gun control argue the focus should be on mental health and improving security at schools, not restricting the constitutional rights of law-abiding citizens.
“I do not support gun control. I stand up for the constitutional rights of law-abiding citizens, but there’s work that we need to do and that is increasing mental health funding and increasing those resources for school resource officers,” Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y) told reporters.