Gov. Hochul signs legislation on gun reform and online hate

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ALBANY, N.Y. (WHEC) — Gov. Kathy Hochul on Monday signed a package of ten bills into law aiming to prevent gun violence and prevent hateful content from spreading online.

The signing happened at the Northeast Bronx YMCA at 10 a.m. Lieutenant Governor Antonio Delgado, Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown, and elected officials from the Bronx joined the governor at the ceremony.

Some of the bills signed were proposed in response to the shootings in Buffalo and Texas, while others have been proposed for over a year. The ten bills are:

  • Purchasing a semi-automatic rifle will require a permit and permits will only be issued to people 21 or older.
  • Threatening mass harm will become illegal.
  • Purchasing bullet-resistant body armor will be illegal unless it’s required for work. The accused Buffalo gunman was wearing body armor.
  • Large-capacity magazines will become illegal.
  • State and local law enforcement agencies will be required to report information on all seized illegal guns to a statewide clearinghouse, to monitor data.
  • Social media companies will be required to monitor their sites for hateful content.
  • The state will create a task force to monitor online content that encourages violent extremism. Investigators said racist conspiracy theories motivated the Buffalo shooter to carry out the attack.
  • Strengthens the state’s Red Flag laws. Red Flag laws stop someone from buying a gun if a teacher or mental health professional flags them as harm to themselves or others.
  • Regulates AOWs (Any Other Weapon), which are shooting or explosive devices not characterized as guns.
  • Strengthening policies around microstamping bullets, which helps investigators to identify the gun that fired the bullet.

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Hochul said that the state is still mourning the loss of ten people who died during the shooting at Tops Supermarket in Buffalo on May 14. She said the signing of the bill was dedicated to the victims of mass shootings and also to the victims of random acts of violence in Rochester, Syracuse, New York City, and elsewhere across the state.

You can hear a local gun store owner’s reaction to the new legislation on our website and watch our coverage of the legislation’s passage.