NEW YORK (WWTI) — On Monday Governor Kathy Hochul signed a 10-bill package into legislation that established stricter gun control laws throughout the state.
Specifically, the legislation raised the age to purchase semiautomatic rifles to 21-years-old, banned body armor, expanded who can file an Extreme Risk Protection Order, placed focus on implementing microstamping for bullets, and cartridge cases, and more.
The legislation was signed in response to mass shootings that have happened across the nation, including the shooting that occurred at the Tops supermarket in Buffalo in May where ten people were killed. Governor Hochul explained the purpose of the legislation and called on Congress to pass similar legislation nationwide in a press release on Monday.
“Gun violence is an epidemic that is tearing our country apart. Thoughts and prayers won’t fix this, but taking strong action will,” Governor Hochul said. “In New York, we’re taking bold steps to protect the people of our state. I am proud to sign a comprehensive bill package that prohibits the sale of semiautomatic weapons to people under 21, bans body armor sales outside of people in select professions, closes critical gun law loopholes, and strengthens our Red Flag Law to keep guns away from dangerous people—new measures that I believe will save lives. While we are taking expedient action to enhance New York State’s nation-leading gun laws, we recognize that gun violence is a nationwide problem. I once again urge Congress to follow our lead and take immediate action to pass meaningful gun violence prevention measures. Lives depend on it.”
A full breakdown of the legislation and each bill is listed below.
The legislation requires individuals to obtain a license prior to purchasing a semiautomatic rifle. Under preexisting New York State law, individuals must be 21 years or older to acquire a gun license.
The legislation made it illegal to purchase and sell body vests for anyone who is not engaged in an eligible profession. Eligible professions included law enforcement officers and other professions, which will be designated by the Department of State in consultation with other agencies. It also requires that all body vest sales are completed in person.
The legislation stated that health care practitioners who have examined an individual within the last six months can also file an ERPO petition. It also amended the firearm licensing statute so that mental health practitioners’ reports on potentially harmful individuals are considered closely when determining whether to issue a firearm license.
Additionally, the bill requires police and district attorneys to file ERPO petitions when they receive credible information that an individual is likely to engage in conduct that would result in serious harm to themselves or others. The bill also requires State Police and the Municipal Police Training Council to create and disseminate policies and procedures to identify when an ERPO petition may be warranted.
The legislation requires the Division of Criminal Justice Services to certify or decline to certify that microstamping-enabled pistols are technologically viable. If the division determines that it is possible, the legislation requires it to establish programs and processes so microstamping is implemented, and establish that selling non-microstamping-enabled firearms is illegal.
The legislation also expanded the definition of a “firearm” to include any weapon that is designed to or can be converted to expel a projectile by the action of an explosive. The purpose of the bill is to capture firearms that have been modified to be shot from an arm brace, which is evading the current definitions of firearms and rifles.
The legislation eliminated the grandfathering of large-capacity ammunition feeding devices that were lawfully possessed prior to the enactment of the Safe Act or manufactured prior to 1994.
The legislation created the crimes of making a threat of mass harm and aggravated making a threat of mass harm.
The legislation also worked to enforce information sharing. Specifically, the bill requires enhanced reporting to be completed by law enforcement to the state and federal gun databases. Agencies must report seized or recovered guns to the criminal gun clearinghouse, participate in the ATF’s collective data-sharing program, and enter the make, model, caliber, and serial number of the gun into the national crime information center.
The law also requires gun dealers to enact uniform security and reporting standards. It prohibits those who are under 18 and not accompanied by a parent from entering certain locations of a gun dealer’s premises. It also states that all employees much receive training on conducting firearm, rifle, and shotgun transfers, including identification of and response to illegal purchases. It also requires State Police to conduct inspections of gun dealers every three years.
The legislation also requires social media networks in New York to provide a clear and concise policy regarding how they would respond to incidents of hateful conduct on their platform and maintain easily accessible mechanisms for reporting hateful conduct on those platforms.
The legislation created a new Task Force on Social Media and Violent Extremism. The Task Force will study and investigate the role of social media companies in promoting and facilitating violent extremism and domestic terrorism online.