NY Governor Signs Gun Control Package, Including Law Raising Age to Own Semiautomatic Rifles

By Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber
Reporter
Zachary Stieber covers U.S. and world news. He is based in Maryland.
June 6, 2022 Updated: June 6, 2022

New York’s governor on June 6 signed 10 bills related to efforts to prevent shootings, including legislation that raises the minimum age to obtain semiautomatic rifles from 18 to 21.

The package also included bills that make it illegal for most people to buy or sell body armor, expand the so-called red flag law that enables courts to strip certain people of their right to own guns, and force social media companies that operate in New York to provide and maintain mechanisms for reporting “hateful conduct” on their platforms.

A fourth bill creates a new crime, to threaten “mass harm” against a group of people. The crime is a misdemeanor.

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul referenced the recent mass shootings in Buffalo, New York; Uvalde, Texas; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; and Tulsa, Oklahoma before signing the bills.

“In New York, we are taking bold, strong action. We’re tightening the red flag laws to keep guns away from dangerous people. And we’re raising the age of semi-automatic weapons so no 18-year-old can walk in on their birthday and walk out with an AR-15. Those days are over. Those days are over. You hear that? Those days are over,” the Democrat, who is running for a full term after succeeding Andrew Cuomo following his resignation, told reporters at the Bronx YMCA in New York City.

“And we’re microstamping bullets so law enforcement can have an easier time catching the criminals. And we’re closing loopholes so the firearms that are being so cleverly manufactured or altered cannot evade our laws anymore. There’s more to do. Thoughts and prayers won’t fix this. But taking strong action will,” she added.

A slew of lawmakers joined Hochul, including state Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and Majority Leader Andrew Stewart-Cousins, both Democrats.

“In these devastating times in New York and across the nation, we have worked with Governor Hochul, Speaker Heastie, and members of the Democratic Legislature to step up and send a message that this path of gun violence is unacceptable and we need real change,” Stewart-Cousins said.

New York already had some of the strictest gun control laws in the nation prior to Monday’s bill signings.

Republicans indicated that the Democrats in power in New York City and on the state level should focus on cutting down on crime by enforcing laws already on the books.

“We need to make New York safe again. It’s not going to happen with 4 more years of Kathy Hochul and one-party Democrat rule in Albany,” said Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-N.Y.), who is running for the Republican gubernatorial nomination.

Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber covers U.S. and world news. He is based in Maryland.