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NY State Legislature Tightens Gun Laws, Raises Age to Buy, Possess Semi-Automatic Rifles

( Epoch Times )

New York’s legislature on Thursday voted to pass a number of bills as part of its “comprehensive package” of gun safety laws following a string of mass shootings across the United States, including one that changes the age at which semi-automatic rifles can be purchased or possessed in the state.

The Democratic-controlled legislature passed a string of gun bills aimed at strengthening gun laws in the wake of shootings in Buffalo and Texas that left a total of 31 dead.

Salvador Ramos, 18, opened fire on Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas on May 24, killing 19 students and 2 teachers. Just a week prior, Payton Gendron, 18, gunned down 10 people at a supermarket in Buffalo, New York.

The evening before lawmakers began debating the latest bills, a gunman shot and killed two doctors and two others before killing himself at a medical building in Tusla, Oklahoma.

Under the new package of bills passed on Thursday, the minimum age at which an individual can purchase or possess a semiautomatic rifle is set to be raised from 18 to 21.

The move means New York will 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 some types of long guns. Similar legislation has been proposed in Utah.

The legislature spent Thursday evening debating that bill, which passed the Senate along party lines 43–20 and in the Assembly 102–47.

That legislation also launches a licensing requirement to buy or possess a semiautomatic rifle, establishes the crimes of criminal purchase of a semiautomatic rifle and criminal sale of a semiautomatic rifle and requires recertification of licenses for such weapons every five years.

Another bill passed bans the unlawful sale and possession of bullet-proof body vests, which was worn by the killer in Buffalo.

A third revises the state’s so-called red flag laws; granting certain health care providers such as licensed physicians, psychiatrists, psychologists or registered nurses the authority to file an application for an extreme risk protection order against an individual examined by such health care provider in certain circumstances.

Another bill set to pass in New York would require new guns to be equipped with microstamping technology, which would allow law enforcement investigators to more easily track bullets to specific firearms.

The latest bills were part of a “comprehensive package” of bills aimed at strengthening New York’s gun laws and keeping people safe, Gov. Kathy Hochul said in a statement.

People under 21 were already unable to possess a handgun and under the new law, younger people will still be allowed to possess other types of rifles and shotguns. However, they will not be able to purchase the type of fast-firing rifles used by the 18-year-old gunmen in the mass shootings in both Buffalo and Texas.

Elsewhere on Thursday, New York City Mayor Eric Adams announced the formation of the Gun Violence Prevention Task Force which he described as a “comprehensive multiagency, cross-program effort to address the root causes of gun violence and prevent shootings before they take place.”

Members of the prevention task force will regularly meet to “solve problems in real-time” and ensure accountability among all agencies for keeping New York neighborhoods safe,” according to the mayor.

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