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New York Legislature approves sweeping gun control package

Democrat Gov. Kathy Hochul says she looks forward to signing the bills into law

Published: June 3, 2022 8:53am

Updated: June 3, 2022 10:25am

The Democratic-controlled New York Legislature late Thursday passed a sweeping gun-control package that includes age limits on gun purchases and a stronger so-called Red Flags law.

Democrat Gov. Kathy Hochul has indicated she will sign the legislative package into law. 

"We cannot be satisfied by New York's already tough gun laws," she said. "Shooting after shooting makes it clear that they must be even stronger to keep New Yorkers safe. ... I look forward to signing these bills into law." 

The package includes a ban on anyone under 21 purchasing or owning a semi-automatic rifle. Three weeks ago, an 18-year-old used a semi-automatic rifle to kill 10 people at a Buffalo supermarket.

In addition, the package would strengthen the state's 2019 Red Flag law, which allows a court to prevent an individual determined to be a threat to themself or others from purchasing or possessing a firearm for up to one year. And new guns must be have micro-stamping technology that allow law enforcement to more easily connect firearms to fired bullets.

The package would also require anyone hoping to purchase a semi-automatic rifle to obtain a license to do so, and make it illegal to buy or sell body vests to any non-law enforcement professional. 

The Legislature spent the better part of Thursday evening debating the bill that would raise the age limit, which ultimately passed along party lines – 43-20 in the Senate and 102-47 in the Assembly.

The state already requires individuals to be 21 years old to own or possess a handgun. Those younger than 21 will still be allowed to own other types of shotguns and rifles. The new laws will, however, restrict ownership of the types of rifles used by the mass shooters in Buffalo and more recently in Uvalde, Texas. 

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