In the wake of a string of mass shootings, including a racist attack in Buffalo that left ten dead and three injured, New York governor Kathy Hochul appeared at a press conference Monday to sign ten new pieces of gun-control legislation.
The bills recently passed in the State Legislature include a new age requirement for the purchase of semi-automatic rifles — up to 21 from 18 — as well as a license requirement for all purchases of semi-automatic rifles. Other bills will limit sales of bulletproof vests and armor to certain professions, ideally making them harder for a potential shooter to obtain, as well as expand New York’s red-flag law, making it mandatory for law enforcement to confiscate weapons from potentially dangerous people if a credible complaint is made. In an effort to make solving gun-crimes easier, another bill will mandate the micro-stamping of bullets.
“This is a crisis, the scale of which requires a national response at the federal level and from each and every state. But here in New York, we don’t wait; we lead,” Hochul said in a speech before the signing. “Today is the start, and it’s not the end,” she continued. “Thoughts and prayers won’t fix this, but taking strong action will.”
New York government officials seem to be anticipating pushback from conservatives and the gun lobby. “We will be ready to defend these laws against challenges,” Attorney General Tish James said at the news conference. “The Second Amendment is not absolute.” James’s office is currently investigating social-media companies and how potential shooters interact on the platforms. The suspect in the Buffalo shooting, Payton Gendron, posted plans for his attack on Discord and livestreamed the event on Twitch. “The fact that an individual can post detailed plans to commit such an act of hate without consequence and then stream it for the world to see is bone-chilling and unfathomable,” James said of the investigation on May 25.
Meanwhile, Republicans and Democrats in the U.S. Senate are engaging in discussions on gun control, but whether those talks will lead to a vote on any legislation remains to be seen.