New York News

Gov. Hochul Signs New Tougher Gun Laws

PROSPECT HEIGHTS — Gov. Kathy Hochul signed 10 bills into law, Monday, June 6, that will further toughen New York state’s already strict gun laws, most notably raising the legal age for someone to buy or possess a semi-automatic weapon from 18 to 21.

“This is a crisis, the scale of which requires a national response at the federal level and from each and every state,” Gov. Hochul said during a press conference. “But here in New York, we don’t wait. This is a moment of reckoning for us as New Yorkers and as Americans.”

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul speaks during a news conference after a shooting at a subway station in the Brooklyn, April 12, 2022. On June 6, the governor signed 10 bills into law that further toughen the state’s gun laws. (Photo: CNS/Brendan McDermid, Reuters)

The state’s Democratic-controlled Legislature passed the gun control legislation on Thursday, June 2, just eight days before the legislative session ends. It was prioritized after an 18-year-old suspect used a semi-automatic rifle to kill 10 people at a Buffalo supermarket in May. 

“This comprehensive package will close loopholes, give law enforcement the tools they need to prevent easy access to guns, and stop the sale of dangerous weapons to 18-year-olds,” Hochul said in a statement after the legislation passed. 

Other key aspects of the gun control package include: 

  • Strengthen Red Flag laws in part by expanding the list of people who can file for Extreme Risk Protection Orders, which are court orders that prohibit a person from purchasing or possessing guns when they are deemed dangerous to themselves or others.  
  • Require microstamping for new guns, which allows law enforcement investigators to more easily link weapons to fire bullets.
  • Prohibit the purchase of body armor for anyone who is not engaged in law enforcement or other eligible professions designated by the Department of State. 
  • In addition to raising the semi-automatic weapon purchase and possession age from 18 to 21, require the purchaser to have a gun license. 
  • Require information sharing between state, local, and federal agencies when guns are used in crimes.
  • Require social media networks in New York to provide clear and concise policies regarding how they would respond to incidents of hateful conduct on their platform, and create a Task Force on Social Media and Violent Extremism in the Attorney General’s office.