ALBANY — A day after an 18-year-old gunman slaughtered 19 children and two teachers at a Texas school, Gov. Hochul said she wants New York to raise the age to buy firearms in the state to 21 from 18.
“I don’t want 18-year-olds to have guns,” Hochul said Wednesday following a meeting of the Interstate Task Force on Illegal Guns at the New York State Intelligence Center in upstate East Greenbush. “At least not in the State of New York.”
The governor, who has already proposed several measures strengthening the state’s gun law in the wake of a mass shooting in Buffalo that left 10 dead earlier this month, said she sees no reason why 18-year-olds should have access to the AR-15 assault-style rifles used in both tragedies.
“As we’ve just seen from these two horrific crimes that we can’t get out of our minds, the common denominator, there are three: the weapon was an AR15, the perpetrator was a male and the perpetrator was 18,” she said.
On Tuesday, authorities say, 18-year-old Salvador Ramos killed 19 schoolchildren and two teachers at a Uvalde, Texas, elementary school.
Only 10 days earlier, 10 Black shoppers were shot to death in what police have described as a racist-fueled rampage by an 18-year-old upstate New York man at a Buffalo supermarket.
The governor, who became emotional at times while discussing the seemingly unending string of mass shootings in the United States, also ordered the state police to increase patrols and conduct daily check-ins at schools through the end of the school year.
“In light of yesterday, you get to the point where you feel like there are no words left,” Hochul said. “But those people deserve our words.
“Am I supposed to just leave all the flags at half-mast? They’re still at half-mast from Buffalo,” she added.
Mike Murphy, a spokesman for Senate Democrats, said that lawmakers are onboard with restricting what types of guns those younger than 21 can buy in New York.
“This is something we have been discussing and we have always been supportive of this idea and would certainly be in favor of moving forward,” he said.
Hochul said that limiting the ability to purchase AR-15 or semiautomatic weapons is the “minimum” she would like lawmakers to do.
“How does an 18-year-old purchase an AR-15 in the State of New York?” she said. “That person is not old [enough] to buy a legal drink. I want to work with the Legislature to change that.”
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