Here’s what happened…
On Monday (June 6), New York Governor Kathy Hochul (D) signed into law a package that raises the minimum age to buy a rifle to 21, restricts the purchase of body armor to specific professions, and tightens the state’s red flag legislation.
These latest reforms follow a deadly mass shooting in Buffalo, New York, that killed ten people at a supermarket in a predominantly Black neighborhood. The killer used an AR-15-style rifle for the shooting.
Discussing the link between the massacre and the latest legislation, Hochul said at a press conference, “In New York, we are taking bold, strong action. We’re tightening the red flag laws to keep guns away from dangerous people.”
Hochul continued, “And we’re raising the age of semiautomatic weapons, so no 18-year-old can walk in on their birthday and walk out with an AR-15. Those days are over.”
Hochul’s comments also seemingly reference the mass shooting in Uvalde, Texas, where another 18-year-old gunman opened fire at an elementary school, killing 19 children and two adults. The Texas killer purchased a semiautomatic rifle a day after he turned 18; a week later, he attacked the Robb Elementary School.
Where and when the Buffalo shooter obtained the high-capacity rifle used in the shooting is unknown, but in his manifesto posted online, he mentions legally obtaining the rifle at a gun shop in New York. He was able to follow through on his plans despite having been taken to an emergency room a year earlier when he was evaluated after threatening “murder-suicide,” but since he was never involuntarily committed, his name didn’t appear on any red flag list.
Hochul hopes to stop similar incidences from occurring after signing into law the suite of bills New York legislature passed last Thursday.