New York's legislature will ban anyone under 21 from purchasing or possessing semi-automatic guns. This is a significant change to state firearm laws that was passed less than three weeks after an 18 year old used one of these guns to kill 10 people in a Buffalo supermarket.
The formal debate began Thursday evening in the Senate and state Assembly on the measure. This was the last day of the legislative session.
The most important part of a set of gun control laws announced earlier this week by Democratic legislative leadership and Gov. Kathy Hochul.
New York already requires that people be 21 years old to own a handgun. While younger people are still allowed to own other types of rifles or shotguns, the law change would limit ownership of fast-firing rifles that were used in the massacres at Texas elementary schools and Buffalo.
The bill will raise the legal age for purchasing semiautomatic weapons to 21. It also requires that anyone who purchases one to obtain a license, which is not required for handguns.
Semiautomatic rifles load each bullet automatically after firing. However, firing each round requires that you pull the trigger. Mass murderers can kill more people quickly with this semiautomatic rifle.
This change would have a major impact on areas outside New York City. New York City already requires permits to possess and carry any type of firearm, and prohibits applicants younger than 21.
Senator Alexis Weik of Long Island, a Republican, said that an 18-year old could still travel to another country and purchase a semi-automatic weapon.
Senator Kevin Thomas, a Long Island Democrat, was one of the bill's sponsor. That's what's necessary."
New York would join the handful of states, including Florida, Hawaii and Illinois, that require buyers to have at least 21 years old to buy certain types of long guns. Utah has also proposed similar legislation.
California's attempts to increase the legal age of purchase for semiautomatic weapons was challenged in court. A U.S. Appeals court panel ruled 2-1 on May 11 that the ban by the state to sell semiautomatic weapons to anyone under 21 was unconstitutional. The two judges who ruled in the majority were part of former President Trump's wave of conservative-approved nominees that reshaped the famously liberal court.
The National Rifle Association also challenges Florida's ban on adults under 21 selling rifles or other firearms. This was in response to a shooting at Parkland High School in 2018 that resulted in 17 deaths.
A bill that will be passed in New York would also require new guns to come with microstamping technology. This would enable law enforcement investigators and gun owners to link weapons to fired bullets more easily.
It is expected that the state will also pass legislation restricting the purchase of body armour and expanding the list of individuals who can apply to an extreme risk protection order. This court order can temporarily ban someone from possessing or purchasing a firearm if they pose a threat to others or themselves.