The governor of New York – a state still reeling from a mass shooting at a supermarket in Buffalo that killed ten Black people – has said the age limit for buying the most deadly of weapons should be aged to 21.
Both the teenager who allegedly opened fire at the Tops supermarket in Buffalo, and the alleged shooter in Uvalde, Texas, where he killed 19 rich kids and two teachers, were both aged 18.
And both are believed to have used AR-15-style semi-automatic rifles, one of which had been altered to carry a larger than usual magazine. The weapons had been bought legally.
“I don’t want an 18 year old to have a gun,” said governor Kathy Hochul, after holding a meeting of an interstate task force addressing the flow of illegal firearms into the state.
The 63-year-old Democrat, who took office last summer after the resignation of Andrew Cuomo and is seeking election this year, said that at a minimum she wanted these kinds of weapons to require someone to be aged 21 “at minimum”.
“Am I supposed to just leave the flags at half staff? They’re still at half staff from Buffalo,” she said on Wednesday, as the names and ages of the victims of Tuesday’s killing in Texas were released.
Along with California, and Illinois, Connecticut, New Jersey, Hawaii, Maryland, and Massachusetts, New York has some of the strictest gun laws in the nation, relative to states such as Texas, New Hampshire and South Dakota.
Yet that may change. The US Supreme Court is currently considering a case – New York State Rifle & Pistol Association, Inc, et al v Bruenthat could overturn New York’s strict limits on the concealed carry of firearms.
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At oral arguments last year, justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito, reportedly appeared open to overturning the restrictions.
“It’s one thing to talk about Manhattan or NYU’s campus,” Mr Thomas said. “It’s another to talk about rural upstate New York.
According to Spectrum News 1, Ms Hochul said she would call a special session of the legislature if the top court overturns its limits on New York’s concealed carry of firearms.
She has previously proposed measures meant to tighten the state’s law addressing the access of firearms for people who are deemed to be too dangerous.
“We’re still mourning the 10 lives taken in Buffalo. Now our entire country is mourning the tragic loss of babies in yet another school shooting,” she tweeted on Wednesday.
She added: “Here in New York, we’re confronting the gun violence epidemic head-on. We’re strengthening the toughest laws in the country. We’re giving law enforcement the resources they need to get guns off the street & keep people safe. We’ll keep doing whatever it takes to save lives.”
She added: “These tragedies must be a wake-up call. It’s long past time for a nationwide response to this crisis.”
She went on to say: “Right now, in the state of New York, an 18-year-old can buy an AR-15 without a licence. That’s wrong and I’m going to work with the legislature to change that.”