In the first measures to be approved by any state following the wave of mass shootings in the U.S. in recent weeks, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul signed into law on Monday a package of gun control laws that include the licensing of semiautomatic rifles, a ban on body armor, and an expansion of the state's "red flag" provision, State of Politics reported.
Surrounded by Democratic officials and gun control advocates in the Bronx, Hochul said the U.S. is "a nation in crisis," declaring that "it just keeps happening. Shots ring out, flags come down, and nothing ever changes, except here in New York."
Hochul had pressed state lawmakers in the remaining weeks of the legislative session to pass the gun-control measures in the aftermath of the shootings in Buffalo and in Uvalde, Texas.
The new law regulates semiautomatic rifles the same as semiautomatic pistols, requiring permits to possess and the license holder to be at least 21 years old.
The teenage white supremacist suspect used an AR-15-style automatic rifle to massacre 10 people at a Buffalo supermarket last month, the New York Post reported.
In addition, legislation has been expanded so that those who are deemed to be a danger can't possess firearms by making healthcare professionals who have examined a person within the last six months eligible to file extreme risk protection orders, according to State of Politics.
Law enforcement and local prosecutors in New York will also have the ability to file risk protection orders if there is credible information that a person is likely to engage in dangerous behavior.
The new legislation also outlaws body vests, except for law enforcement, first responders, and those whose employment requires them to wear armor.
A new law also enables microstamping technology, which could make it easier for law enforcement to track future crimes through identifying marks that would match a gun with an expended cartridge left at a crime scene, the New York Post reported.
In addition, the governor and New York lawmakers agreed to measures meant to boost monitoring of hate speech on social media platforms and a crackdown on domestic terrorism after the alleged shooter in Buffalo posted online a racist rant, according to State of Politics.
A task force to probe the role social media companies have played in making acts of domestic terrorism easier will be formed and issue recommendations to state officials.
Republican lawmakers and gun-rights advocates objected to the new laws, saying the legislation would not help keep New Yorkers safer and did not do enough to address mental health issues.
© 2022 Newsmax. All rights reserved.