Two mass shootings in May alone prompted state lawmakers to unveil a list of legislative and policy proposals to address the epidemic of gun violence, just before the end of this year’s legislative session. Prior to the Buffalo and Uvalde massacres, earlier proposals this year targeted phantom guns and the flow of illegal guns into New York from other states.
At least one major bill has been passed – the criminalization of phantom gun sales. Other lesser pieces of legislation, such as an excise tax on ammunition to support gun violence prevention efforts, are stalled in the committees.
Here’s a look at some of the gun violence prevention bills and policies that Governor Kathy Hochul and state lawmakers have proposed for this session:
-One of the first gun-related bills introduced this session, by Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal and State Senator Brad Hoylman, criminalized the sale of ghost guns by anyone other than a licensed gunsmith. To make it easier for law enforcement to trace ghost guns — which are often made without serial numbers — the law also requires gunsmiths to serialize all firearms. Hochul signed the legislation on March 18.
-In February, Senator Andrew Gounardes and Assemblywoman Patricia Fahy proposed legislation that would impose a five-cent excise tax on ammunition sales, with proceeds going to the United States Gun Violence Research Fund. New York State. The legislation is currently before the Assembly Ways and Means Committee and the State Senate Committee on Budget and Revenue.
-Also in March, Assemblyman Harvey Epstein sponsored legislation that would require ammunition manufacturers to embed codes on their products to help law enforcement more easily trace ammunition recovered from scenes of crime. Versions of this bill have been introduced in every session since at least 2009. It is currently before the House Codes Committee.
-Before the Buffalo and Uvalde shootings, State Senator Luis Sepúlveda drafted legislation that would put in place a mechanism for the state or individual to bring civil action against vendors and manufacturers of Ghost weapons not allowed. The law is similar to one that went into effect last year that allows states, municipalities and individuals to sue gun dealers, manufacturers and distributors who they believe are creating a “nuisance public”. SepulvedaThe bill is at the Senate Judiciary Committee.
– On Wednesday, State Senator Sean Ryan proposed legislation that would impose new restrictions on the sales of body armor and other body armor by requiring the transfer of such products to be done in person. The bill, which is at the Senate Consumer Protection Committee, was unveiled in response to the Buffalo shooting, in which the alleged shooter, Payton Gendron, allegedly wore a bulletproof vest.
Hochul initiatives for gun violence prevention
Hochul January 5 announced a package of gun violence prevention efforts as part of his state of the state address. Among them, she promised to “triple the state police’s gun violence intelligence resources.” The initiative included a series of measures aimed at improving coordination among local law enforcement and increasing data collection related to gun trafficking and “community-specific crime issues”, it said. his office in a press release at the time.
The January announcement also included the formation of the Interstate Gun Tracing Consortium, which met in late January and includes officials from the New York City Police Department, federal law enforcement agencies and police officers from 10 States. The consortium is intended to mitigate arms trafficking operations.
In May, Hochul join a call made by New York City Mayor Eric Adams for the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to revoke the firearms manufacturing license of Polymer80, the largest supplier of phantom weapons in the United States.
Following the May 14 mass shooting at a Buffalo supermarket, Hochul has pledged to crack down on domestic terrorism, social media hate speech and loopholes in state gun laws. fire. She asked the state attorney general’s office to investigate the social media platforms allegedly used by the accused killer to livestream the shooting and release a racist manifesto detailing his plans. She also issued an executive order to create a new domestic terrorism unit and require each county to develop a plan to deal with domestic terrorism threats by the end of the year. Improving social media monitoring is among the goals of the Domestic Terrorism Initiative, Hochul said.
A second executive order issued in conjunction with the Homeland Terrorism Initiative aims to strengthen the state’s red flag law. The law allows law enforcement, families and school officials to seek an emergency protective order against people who exhibit behavior that could be considered a threat to themselves or others and prevents them to possess or obtain firearms. Hochul’s directive was a response to the New York State Police’s failure to use the law against the alleged shooter, Gendron, after they were allegedly called to his school to investigate a murder threat- suicide he uttered, then later said it was a joke.
After the shooting of at least 21 people, including 19 children, at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas on May 24, Hochul announced plans to work with the state legislature to draft a proposal that would increase the legal age to purchase an AR-15 rifle is 18 to 21.