New York is set to become one of the first states to pass a package of new gun restrictions in direct response to the shootings in Buffalo and Texas that have rattled the nation, Politico reports. The new laws sought by Gov. Kathy Hochul and the state's liberal legislature would further tighten New York's gun ownership restrictions, including raising the age from 18 to 21 for the purchase of semi-automatic rifles like those used in the recent shootings. Leaders plan to pass the package before the legislative session wraps up Thursday. The urgency comes in part from grief after the shooting in the state's second largest city, Buffalo, last month. It's also a response to the failure of the state's strict background checks and "red flag" law to prevent the shooting, and an attempt to close loopholes in stringent gun laws.
The package of bills set for passage, some of which were drafted before the Buffalo shooting, attempt to fortify existing laws. The red flag law, which permits the seizure of guns from those believed to pose a risk to themselves or others, would be expanded to allow more people - such as health practitioners - to file risk orders. It requires law enforcement to seek a seizure order if credible information emerges. Another item set to pass would add semi-automatic rifles to the weapons requiring a permit, which is available to those over 21. The state currently requires permits for handguns, not rifles. Another bill would ban the sale of body armor to people outside law enforcement or other state-designated professions. The political climate this year offers more fertile ground for passage in the legislature's dual Democratic-controlled chambers. most Republicans have ripped the new proposals, saying the focus should be on mental health and having more school resource officers.