New York Governor Kathy Hochul and state lawmakers have reached an agreement to strengthen gun laws in the state following the Buffalo grocery store massacre last month.
The proposed legislation specifically bans the sale of assault-style weapons to New Yorkers under the age of 21 and puts a license requirement for people who want to purchase a semi-automatic rifle.
The deal comes after self-proclaimed white supremacist and accused gunman Payton Gendron drove more than 200 miles to the Tops Friendly Market on Jefferson Avenue in Buffalo and carried out a racist attack on May 14, killing 10 people and wounding three others with a recently-purchased AR-15.
On May 24, 18-year-old Salvador Ramos entered Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, killing 19 kids and two teachers with an AR-15 he'd recently purchased.
A federal appeals court struck down a similar gun control measure in California earlier in May, but Hochul says she's moving forward with the bill anyway.
"I'm not going to let my fear of losing a court case stop me from what I think is correct for New Yorkers and what will protect them," Hochul said one day after the Uvalde mass shooting. "You may get a judge who actually cares and has common sense, who would understand that these are not punitive measures."
According to WXXI News, other measures in the package would make the sale of body armor and bulletproof vests illegal and require social media platforms operating in the state of New York to develop transparent policies about how they respond to hate speech on their sites and make reporting hate speech accessible.
The governor is also looking into "microstamping" semiautomatic pistols and bullets in order to help law enforcement track down weapons used in crimes. Gun manufacturers so far have been resistant.
"The industry needs to wake up and say, 'We'll be partners in this,'" Hochul said. "Because I would think that given the liability involved, that they would want to do everything they can to make sure their products are not used in the commission of any crime, and certainly not in the commission of a mass slaughter of innocent children."
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