ALBANY, N.Y. — A day after an 18-year-old gunman slaughtered 19 children and two teachers at a Texas school, Gov. Kathy Hochul said she wants New York to raise the age to purchase firearms in New York to 21.
“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 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 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 AR-15, 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 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.
Hochul said New York already has the “toughest gun laws in the nation.” She called for a “nationwide response” to the current crisis.
New York lawmakers are already expected to take up a firearms-related package before the scheduled end of the legislative session after Hochul last week unveiled several executive orders and bills meant to strengthen the state’s gun laws and target domestic terrorism.
Hochul has called on the Democratic-led Legislature to pass a package of bills including a measure that would expand the state’s existing ban on certain assault weapons to include firearms known as “any other weapons” or “A.O.W.s” while another would require semi-automatic handguns made or sold in the state to include features that would mark ammunition with a microstamp after they are fired.
Another part of the package would require law enforcement to report any firearm they recover from a crime scene within 24 hours so it could be tested to determine if it had been used in other crimes.
The legislative session is slated to end on June 2.
Additionally, Hochul said Wednesday that she would call lawmakers back to Albany for a special legislative session over the summer if the Supreme Court overturns the state’s concealed carry law. A decision in the case is expected soon.