New York officials said they would strengthen the state’s “red flag” law and launch an investigation into the role of social-media platforms in promoting and streaming the Buffalo mass shooting. The multifaceted response was announced by New York Gov. Kathy Hochul four days after a gunman killed 10 people in a racially motivated attack on a supermarket in a Black neighborhood of Buffalo. Payton Gendron, 18, has been charged with first degree murder. The governor called for federal legislation requiring universal background checks for the purchase of firearms and said she would work with state lawmakers to tighten New York’s already strict gun laws, reports the Wall Street Jourrnal.
Hochul said the state will open a new office dedicated to tracking domestic terrorism and that Attorney General Letitia James would investigate companies where Gendron wrote about his plans for the shooting. “The most serious threat we face as a nation is from within,” Hochul said. “It’s white supremacism, it’s white nationalism, and it’s time we confronted it head on.” Gendron traveled to Buffalo from his home in the Binghamton area, near the Pennsylvania border. He wrote online that he picked the shooting site due to the ZIP code’s high percentage of Black residents. Last spring, a teacher at Gendron’s high school reported that he had written about wanting to carry out a shooting. The State Police were called, and Mr. Gendron was taken to a hospital for a mental-health evaluation before being released a day and a half later. Broome County District Attorney Michael Korchak said Gendron was evaluated but because he was 17 and had no prior history of mental-health issues, he was released. Hochul signed an order that would require the New York State Police to seek an order when there is probable cause to believe people are likely to engage in conduct that would result in serious harm to themselves or others.