ALBANY – At a press conference held yesterday, Governor Kathy Hochul proposed additional action to strengthen and close loopholes in state gun laws in the wake of a horrific mass shooting in Texas that claimed the lives of at least 21 people – including 19 elementary school children.
“The horrific shooting of 19 children and two teachers in Texas, not even two weeks after the mass murder of ten New Yorkers in Buffalo, is yet another infuriating reminder of the plague of gun violence facing our nation,” Governor Hochul said.
Governor Hochul is also directing State Police to increase visibility at schools in their patrol areas statewide out of an abundance of caution. This increased presence includes check-ins at schools to be conducted by both uniform and plainclothes members. This effort will continue through the end of the school year.
Last week, in direct response to the white supremacist act of terror that claimed 10 lives at a supermarket in Buffalo, Governor Hochul unveiled a comprehensive plan to combat the steady rise in domestic terrorism and violent extremism, strengthen state gun laws and crack down on social media platforms that host and amplify content that promotes and broadcasts violent acts.
The package included the issuing to two key Executive Orders. The first Executive Order will establish a new unit within the Office of Counterterrorism dedicated solely to the prevention of domestic terrorism, while also establishing a dedicated State Police unit to track domestic violent extremism through social media. The second Executive Order will require State Police to file for an Extreme Risk Protection Order (ERPO) under New York State’s Red Flag Law whenever they have probable cause to believe that an individual is a threat to themselves or others.
As part of the package, Governor Hochul is also pushing a series of legislative measures designed to help law enforcement investigate and prevent gun-related crimes. The Governor is proposing new legislation to close the “other gun” loophole by revising and widening the definition of a firearm, making more guns subject to various preexisting firearm laws.
Governor Hochul is working with the Legislature to pass two bills to address and streamline the investigation of gun-related crimes. The first would set forth a process to require semiautomatic pistols manufactured or delivered to licensed dealers in New York to be microstamping-enabled. The second piece of legislation would strengthen gun reporting protocols by requiring all law enforcement agencies to report the recovery of any crime gun within 24 hours of their discovery.
The governor directed flags to remain at half-staff to honor the victims of the Texas shooting. Flags will remain at half-staff until 12 PM on Monday, May 30.