New York is set to pass a new package of gun restrictions after a mass shooting at a Buffalo supermarket, Politico reports.
New York Democrats are aiming to raise the age to purchase semi-automatic rifles like AR-15s from 18 to 21 after an 18-year-old gunman killed 10 people at a western New York Tops supermarket.
The package also includes an expansion of the state’s red flag law, allowing health practitioners and others to file risk orders. The measure also requires rather than allows law enforcement to file an order if they receive credible information.
The Buffalo shooter was referred to a mental health counselor after threatening to shoot up his school but police did not file an order under the existing Red Flag law.
“There was nothing stopping either of those stakeholders, the police, the school administrator, from filing a petition, while waiting for the mental health evaluation,” Rebecca Fischer, the executive director of New Yorkers Against Gun Violence, told Politico. “If we put a law on the books that requires law enforcement to look a little further, it’s more likely that this will be tapped into and that that law enforcement on the ground will be trained to know that this is a tool that they can use.”
Blue states lead the way:
As federal lawmakers stall on gun safety legislation, blue states are leading the way on gun measures.
“I really look at this package as being very comprehensive, holistic in its approach to addressing this public health crisis,” said Fischer. “I think that for states like Connecticut, and New Jersey, California, these are laws that can be used as a model to get them up to speed right away.”
“We really do have reason to be concerned because while the gun violence prevention advocates are focusing on the states to strengthen our laws, the gun rights advocates are also focusing on states to weaken their laws,” she added.
Supreme Court worries:
At the same time, New York lawmakers are worried that the Supreme Court is likely to overturn the state’s ban on concealed carry permits.
Many Democrats are in a “state of apprehension” about the decision, state Sen. Zellnor Myrie told Politico.
“I think we’re at a moment where the public is expecting us to put everything on the table. And I don’t think we can do enough,” he said. “I think we can always be doing more gun safety. And my hope is that this doesn’t just happen in the wake of a tragedy, but that we maintain this energy.”
New York City Mayor Eric Adams warned that the decision could make the streets more dangerous.
“People are going to have the right to openly carry in our cities,” he told reporters Tuesday. “That something we should be alarmed about.”