Governor Kathy Hochul expected to sign gun reform bills as NYC Mayor Eric Adams announces ‘gun violence czar’

NEW YORK (WABC) – The New York legislature has passed a law prohibiting anyone under the age of 21 from buying or possessing a semi-automatic rifle, a major change in the United States’ gun laws. State passed less than three weeks after an 18-year-old used one of the guns to kill 10 people at a Buffalo supermarket.

The gun reform bills are expected to be signed into law by Governor Kathy Hochul.

“Our gun legislative package just passed both houses,” Hochul said in a tweet. “New York is taking swift action to strengthen Red Flag laws, close loopholes and protect communities.”

All major bills have been passed following the recent mass shootings.

This includes criminalizing the threat of attack, banning the sale of body armor, requiring licenses to purchase assault rifles, and raising the minimum age to 21 for buy an assault rifle.

In Manhattan, supporters gathered on the steps of City Hall as Mayor Eric Adams announced his new gun violence prevention task force.

The mayor appointed AT Mitchell to co-chair the unit alongside the deputy mayor for strategic initiatives, Sheena Wright.

Mitchell is the founder of the Brooklyn-based anti-violence group Man Up!, known for sending teams of violence interrupters to neighborhoods with high shooting rates to prevent tragedies before they strike.

Members of the task force will meet regularly to resolve issues in real time and ensure that all agencies are held accountable for keeping New York neighborhoods safe and secure, according to a press release.

The mayor’s plan includes engaging with communities most affected by gun violence and providing them with resources.

“My job is to bring our best practices, what I know from the board, what I know from the experts I work with, and listen to what the city already has at their disposal, and really work on how we can bring those resources in those neighborhoods,” Mitchell said.

“The answer can’t just be downstream of making arrests. The answer is to go upstream, to stop people from being and having these guns in the hands of our children in the first place,” he said. said Adams.

Shootings are down 10% from last year, but the mayor says that with innocent people injured, the statistics don’t matter.

Meanwhile, Republicans in the state chastised Democrats for pushing a more sweeping measure than what Hochul originally proposed.

Senator Gustavo Rivera, a Democrat from the Bronx, pushed back against Republicans who argued the bill would embarrass gun owners and violate Second Amendment rights: “It’s supposed to be a problem for people who might want to get their hands on something fast with which they could mass killers”

Semi-automatic rifles automatically load each bullet after firing, although firing requires pulling the trigger for each round. This allows mass murderers to kill more people in a short time.

The change would have a big impact on areas outside of New York City, which already requires permits to own, carry and purchase any type of firearm and prohibits most applicants under the age of 21.

Elsewhere in New York, people as young as 16 can own long guns like rifles and shotguns without a license.

Sen. Alexis Weik, a Republican from Long Island, pointed out that an 18-year-old could always go to another state and buy a semi-automatic rifle.

Senator Kevin Thomas, a Long Island Democrat and one of the bill’s sponsors, replied, “Are you in favor of federal gun control? Because that’s what we need .”

New York would join a handful of states — including Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Vermont and Washington — that require buyers to be at least 21 instead of 18 to purchase certain types of long guns. Similar legislation has been proposed in Utah.

California’s attempt to raise the legal age to purchase a semi-automatic weapon has been challenged in court.

On May 11, a U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled 2-1 that the state’s ban on selling semi-automatic weapons to adults under 21 was unconstitutional. The two justices who ruled by majority were part of Republican President Donald Trump’s wave of conservative-endorsed nominees who reshaped the famed liberal court.

The National Rifle Association is also challenging Florida’s ban on the sale of rifles and other firearms to adults under 21, which was passed following a 2018 shooting that killed 17 students and staff members at a Parkland high school.

Another bill expected to pass in New York would require new weapons to be equipped with micro-stamping technology, which would make it easier for law enforcement investigators to link the weapons to fired bullets.

The state should also pass legislation that would restrict the purchase of body armor and expand the list of people who can apply for an Extreme Risk Protection Order, a court order that can temporarily bar someone from buying or possessing a firearm if believed. be a danger to themselves or to others.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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