ALBANY, N.Y. — New Yorkers under age 21 will be prohibited from buying semiautomatic rifles under a new law signed Monday by Gov. Kathy Hochul, making the state one of the first to enact a major gun control initiative following a wave of deadly mass shootings.
Hochul, a Democrat, signed 10 public safety-related bills, including one that will require microstamping in new firearms, which could help law enforcement solve gun-related crimes.
Another revised the state’s “red flag” law, which allows courts to temporarily take away guns from people who might be a threat to themselves or others.
“In New York, we are taking bold, strong action. We’re tightening red flag laws to keep guns away from dangerous people,” Hochul said at a press conference in the Bronx.
New York’s Legislature passed the bills last week, pushing the changes through after a pair of mass shootings involving 18-year-old gunmen using semiautomatic rifles. Ten Black people died in a racist attack on a Buffalo supermarket May 14. A Texas school shooting took the lives of 19 children and two teachers 10 days later.
Most people under age 21 had already been banned from owning handguns in New York. People age 18 and over will still be allowed to own other types of long guns, including shotguns and bolt-action rifles.
Part of New York’s new law will also require all purchasers of semiautomatic rifles to get a license, something now required only for handguns.
Hochul also signed a bill Monday that will restrict sales of bullet-resistant vests and armor only to people in certain professions.
The governor said New York will continue to invest in prevention of gun-related crimes by partnering with local communities and continuing to strengthen laws by putting pressure on Congress.
“Today is the start, and it’s not the end,” said Hochul. “Thoughts and prayers won’t fix this, but taking strong action will. We will do that in the name of the lives that have been lost, for the parents who will no longer see their children stepping off the school bus.”
Maysoon Khan is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues. Follow Maysoon Khan on Twitter.