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Governor Hochul Signs Landmark Legislative Package to Strengthen Gun Laws and Protect New Yorkers

State Senator Jamaal Bailey said, “We cannot wait for the next Buffalo or Uvalde to act. With this package of legislation, New York is leading the country in strengthening our gun laws to meaningfully address the scourge of gun violence. My bill will establish a dedicated task force within the New York Attorney General’s Office to investigate social media’s role in promoting violent extremism and the use of social media platforms to plan and facilitate acts of domestic terrorism. Together with my colleagues’ bills to require a permit and raise the age to purchase a semiautomatic rifle, strengthen background checks for gun and ammunition sales, and improve the reporting of hateful social media, this legislative package will save lives and prevent future tragedies. Thank you Governor Kathy Hochul for signing into law the most robust package of bills to tackle gun violence in our state’s history, Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, Speaker Carl Heastie, and my colleagues in both houses for your leadership in this moment of crisis.”

State Senator Brad Hoylman said, “We must do everything in our power to prevent gun violence in New York. We honor the memories of the 10 lives lost in Buffalo at the hands of a white supremacist, the 19 children in Texas, and the hundreds of New Yorkers that die from gun violence every year with this package of gun safety bills. I’m honored and humbled to have sponsored two bills being signed by Governor Hochul today, including the new microstamping law (S.4116A/A.7926) and the bill making it easier prosecute cases where a large capacity magazine was used (S.9229A/A.10428A). My sincerest gratitude goes to to Governor Hochul for championing and expeditiously signing these bills, Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins for prioritizing gun safety, and the advocates and anti-gun violence organizations with whom we work closely including, New Yorkers Against Gun Violence, Everytown, Moms Demand Action, Brady, Giffords and the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence.”

State Senator Todd Kaminsky said, “Those who threaten to inflict mass harm on the public must be held accountable. Courts in our state have blocked prosecutions of those who make serious threats against our schools, synagogues and businesses so it was necessary to close this loophole. By signing this legislation, we are empowering law enforcement to prosecute those who make such threats to the fullest extent of the law. Our children’s and our neighbors’ safety demand nothing less. Thank you to Governor Hochul and Assemblymember Wallace for their work on this.”

State Senator Anna M. Kaplan said, “The racist domestic terrorist who murdered 10 innocent Black New Yorkers in a Buffalo supermarket was radicalized online in an environment where hate speech is encouraged and where there are few options for people of good conscience to sound the alarm about what’s going on there. We all know the expression “if you see something, say something,” but unfortunately, many social media platforms make it impossible to speak out when you see something dangerous or harmful online. My legislation will empower social media users to keep virtual spaces safer for all by providing clear and consistent reporting mechanisms to flag hate speech, and with the devastating consequences of hate all around us getting worse by the day, we need to take this action right away. I’m grateful for Governor Hochul’s leadership in signing this legislation along with the entire gun safety package we passed last week, and I’m thankful for my partnership with Assemblywoman Patricia Fahy on this bill.”

State Senator Brian Kavanagh said, “We will never fully rid our country of atrocities like the horrific shootings in Buffalo and Uvalde — or the day-to-day gun violence that plagues so many of our communities — until the gun industry and their allies in Congress and in many states act responsibly and stop blocking laws that would stop the violence. But our actions over the last decade, and the laws Governor Kathy Hochul is signing today, demonstrate that we are willing and able to protect New Yorkers from the scourge of gun violence. I thank Governor Hochul, Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, and Speaker Carl Heastie for their leadership, our colleagues in the executive chamber and the legislature, and the many advocates, survivors, law enforcement professionals, and gun violence prevention experts who have helped shape our understanding of what needs to be done.”

State Senator Tim Kennedy said, “While Washington continues to fail to act, New York is stepping up to the plate,” said Senator Tim Kennedy. “One of the City of Buffalo’s darkest days is leading to change, and we are giving voice to those that we lost by effecting real and substantive reforms that will help to prevent future tragedies and save lives. While our work is far from over, I’m proud that the Legislature was able to swiftly come together on this issue, and I thank Governor Hochul for her leadership and for signing these bills into law.”

State Senator Sean Ryan said, “As the Buffalo community continues to mourn, dozens of other communities like ours have lost innocent lives to mass shootings. It has long been clear that our country needs to take bold action to prevent these attacks, confront white supremacy and hateful ideology, and do everything possible to save lives. While we wait for the federal government to act, it is up to individual states to do our part. Here in New York, we looked closely at what happened in Buffalo and Uvalde, Texas to develop commonsense reforms that will make a difference and help prevent tragedies like these from happening in the future.”

State Senator Luis Sepúlveda said, “I am honored Governor Kathy Hochul has signed into law my bill S9456, which changes the definition of firearms to include “Ghost Guns”. Ghost Guns are, unequivocally, a big component of the increasing gun violence that is plaguing our communities. This law is a transcendental step in our fight to ensure public safety. Governor Hochul has chosen the Bronx as the scenario to send a clear message to the entire State and the rest of the Nation: we will not stand idly by without acting for the peace and tranquility of our communities. Today, we are giving hope to millions of people and proving that it is possible to come together to give our communities the tools they need and the protection they deserve to live in peace.”

State Senator James Skoufis said, “Our gun safety package sends a clarion message in the wake of Buffalo, Uvalde, and countless other violent tragedies: New York will do what’s needed to keep our communities safe. The ‘red flag’ expansion bill that I sponsored allows health and mental healthcare professionals to file for extreme risk protection orders to help keep firearms out of the hands of dangerous individuals. I applaud the Governor for signing this and other key measures to protect our families and communities.” 

State Senator Kevin Thomas said, “As the federal government sits idly, New York State is once again stepping up and taking action to protect our residents from gun violence. The tragedies in Buffalo and Uvalde have shown there is a correlation between mass shootings and young people having unfettered access to semiautomatic weapons. I am proud to have been the primary sponsor of S.9458, which would effectively raise the age to purchase semi-automatic rifles from 18 to 21. New York continues to be a leader in implementing tough common sense gun laws. I thank Governor Hochul for signing this life-saving legislative package into law today to ensure communities across New York remain safe.”

Assemblymember Kenny Burgos said, “Gun violence is a national epidemic and a plague on our communities. And when any innocent life is lost at the barrel of a gun, it is a failure of our government and our humanity. It’s why I am heartened by the tireless work of my legislative colleagues and the Governor in passing the most comprehensive package of gun safety reforms in the country. This includes my own bill which closes a dangerous loophole and expands the definition of firearms to keep up with the disturbingly-innovative minds in the gun industry. New York stepped up at this distressing time in our nation’s history, and I reiterate my call for Congress to do the same.”

Assemblymember Patrick Burke said, “As a father, I know the fear and anxiety parents feel when sending their kids to school. The “have a nice day” hugs are being held just a little bit longer. We need common sense gun reform at the federal level but New Yorkers can rest assured that their Legislature Majority and their Governor will do everything in their power to protect them and their families from gun violence.” 

Assemblymember Kevin Cahill said, “When a person is in crisis, the folks best equipped to identify them and help out are mental health professionals.  By strengthening the Red Flag Law and extending the ability to file Extreme Risk Protection Orders, we will help ensure that those who present an immediate danger to themselves or our communities do not remain in the shadows and can begin to receive the attention and treatment they need.”

Assemblymember William Conrad said, “We as Americans can absolutely uphold our Second Amendment rights while at the same time securing critical protections against gun crimes. A recommitment to the Red Flag Law, practical regulations around the possession and use of semiautomatic weapons, comprehensive records-sharing among and for the benefit of law enforcement agencies – these are some of the common-sense measures that will both support responsible gun ownership and provide the enhanced controls demanded by the vast majority of our citizens. The crisis of gun violence, which so grievously touched Buffalo on May 14, will be addressed with a multi-faceted approach that includes more than tightened access to firearms. But I believe the legislation passed this year in New York State represents the appropriate immediate response to such violence. We cannot enjoy the freedom our forefathers intended for us without the assurances of basic safety and security.”

Assemblymember Patricia Fahy said, “We have seen too much hate and misinformation spread across social media networks, and too often that vitriol spills over into violence offline and can culminate into the type of tragedy that occurred in Buffalo last month. With over 4.75 billion posts made on Facebook alone every day and more than 70 percent of Americans having some form of social media account, we need social media platforms to put into place clear, concise policies on how to report and address hateful content. This legislation sends a strong message to social media platforms and companies; that they must take real action to protect New Yorkers from the spread of dangerous hate speech and misinformation both online and offline.”

Assemblymember Jonathan Jacobson said, “As in far too many other mass shootings, the gunman in Buffalo went into the store wearing a bulletproof vest so he would be safe while he slaughtered innocent victims. The store’s armed security guard shot at him, but the shooter was unharmed and returned fire, killing the security guard. This is a very pro-law enforcement bill.  Unless your profession puts you at a special risk of gun violence, there is no reason you need a bullet proof vest. This bill will help keep them out of the hands of those who want to protect themselves from law enforcement or other security officers while harming others.  If we can’t stop these criminals from shooting, the least we can do is take away their protection.”

Assemblymember Chantel Jackson said, “It’s time to move from just offering thoughts and prayers to victims of gun violence. The Governor and legislature is committed to taking every step to secure the safety of all New Yorkers. The bill I sponsored will require people to be 21 years old and licensed to purchase or take possession of a semiautomatic rifle.”

Assemblymember Karen McMahon said, “Communities across the nation and in Western New York are still reeling from senseless and horrific gun violence. Nearly a decade since the Sandy Hook massacre, we are incomprehensibly in the same position, suffering the consequences of inaction. Here in New York State, however, I’m proud that my colleagues and I have taken a stand and said ‘no more.’ Together, we passed a series of bills that will crack down on weapons of war and body armor, close loopholes for obtaining a weapon, fight hate speech online, and more. With the Governor’s signature, we take a step in the right direction toward much-improved gun safety and responsibility in New York State.”

Assemblymember Demond Meeks said, “The core tenet for the state of New York is Excelsior, “ever upward.” At the start of COVID-19, New York took the lead in passing measures and protections to combat the spread of this unknown virus. We acted quickly and we moved forward while doing what we believed was right to save lives throughout our state. This is no different as it relates to mass murder and the rising rates of gun violence, another deadly disease overtaking our communities. As an epidemic, we must protect the members of our communities by implementing restorative reforms to increase public safety. We have to maintain our initiatives and push for regulations and guidelines that will safeguard the people of New York State from further acts of senseless violence. Collectively, we must take a stand against hatred and prejudice, striving ever upward for our residents and families.”

Assemblymember Jon D. Rivera said, “Just like we regulate the sale of alcohol to minors, so too should we regulate the sale of automatic weapons to minors. The comprehensive gun-bill package that Governor Hochul will sign into law represents common sense measures that all law-abiding gun owners should be able to support, including banning the sale of semiautomatic rifles to anyone under 21 by requiring a license, prohibiting the purchase of body armor by anyone not engaged in an eligible profession, and strengthening Red Flag Laws by expanding the list of people who can file for Extreme Risk Protection Orders. Mass shooters have recently used loopholes in state laws to devastate communities and tear families apart. By closing them, New York is taking yet another step forward in protecting its residents from the scourge of gun violence that continues to destroy communities across our nation, as action at the federal level has been frozen and mired in a political stalemate.”

Assemblymember Linda Rosenthal said, “Gun violence is the number one leading cause of death among our nation’s young people. Our inaction in the face of so much preventable carnage is a national embarrassment. In light of the continued federal paralysis, New York is taking the lead once again to crack down on guns. Microstamping is a vital tool that will help law enforcement solve crimes. With a clearance rate on gun crimes of 30% in New York City, microstamping will help get dangerous criminals and their guns of the streets. This is one of the best ways to end the viscous cycle of violence. I am grateful to Speaker Heastie for his leadership on this issue and to Governor Hochul for signing it into law.”

Assemblymember Monica Wallace said, “After the devastating attacks in Buffalo and then Uvalde, the people of New York State demanded action to end senseless gun violence. We delivered by passing  common sense gun control laws that will keep people safe and save lives. I thank Governor Hochul for her leadership on this issue and for signing my legislation making it a crime to threaten to commit an any mass shooting.”

Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz said, “Large numbers of Americans support common sense gun laws that protect our citizens, close loopholes, and prevent weapons of mass violence from being used in our communities. As we all know too well, too many lives have been destroyed, families devastated and much pain suffered by victims, their loved ones and communities from gun violence to let this moment pass. This law is a major achievement and an announcement to America that New York State is united and focused against gun violence. I thank Governor Hochul and our state Assembly and Senate leadership for their swift action. This comprehensive legislative package will help to save lives, protect our residents, and take guns out of the hands of people who should not have them.”

New York City Mayor Eric Adams said, “The sea of gun violence does not have a single point of origin, but these 10 laws will dam some of the rivers leading to that sea. Working in partnership with our investments in both prevention and intervention, I am confident that this set of laws will continue the reduction in shootings we’ve seen over the last two months across New York City. I previously supported and fought for many of these efforts, including microstamping, in the Legislature, and I am glad we are today taking action to prevent New York City from becoming the next Buffalo, Uvalde, Orlando, Columbine, or Sandy Hook. I thank Governor Hochul and our legislative leaders for moving with urgency to save lives.”

Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown said, “On this day, action was taken in New York State toward sensible gun reform so that every New Yorker can feel safer going to the store, going to school and visiting places of worship without having to consider the possibility of a mass shooter wielding a weapon made for war. The mass shooting victims in Buffalo and across the country must not be in vain. We will continue to make our voices heard and urge the Federal government to follow New York’s lead so that no community has to feel pain and loss like Buffalo, Uvalde, Philadelphia and so many other places around our country.”

Niagara Falls Mayor Robert Restaino said, “New York State continually acts as a leader in our country when it comes to taking action to protect our citizens against gun violence. Once again, we are leading the way. The new laws Governor Hochul signed today focus on keeping our neighbors safe. They focus on keeping children in schools safe. They put citizens’ quality of life ahead of politics. They are an appropriate action to combat the horrors that are plaguing not only the Western New York community, but also the entire country. I applaud Governor Hochul and support her dedication to close loopholes in our current gun laws. These new measures will help to protect people trying to live their everyday lives, whether they’re shopping for groceries or praying at a church. Governor Hochul put people first when she signed these new laws.”

Mayor Ben Walsh said, “New York State is showing the nation how to strengthen protections against the epidemic of gun violence. We already have tough gun laws, but the threats are evolving and growing. I commend Governor Hochul, the New York State Legislature and Attorney General James for taking a comprehensive approach to reducing the risk of gun violence and for moving quickly to enact new protections.”

Director of the Mayor’s Office to Reduce Gun Violence in Syracuse Lateef Johnson-Kinsey said, “I would like to thank Governor Hochul and the Legislature for putting community safety first and for being a forerunner in change for stronger and comprehensive gun laws. This package of bills is a step in the right direction to making our communities safer.”

Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg said, “It will take an all-hands-on-deck approach to combat gun violence in our state, and these measures represent a critical step forward to keeping our communities safe. I applaud Governor Hochul, Speaker Heastie and Majority Leader Stewart-Cousins for recognizing the importance of this moment and taking swift action. My Office will continue working closely with community leaders, lawmakers and our law enforcement partners to get guns off our streets and hold violence drivers accountable.”

Bronx District Attorney Darcel D. Clark said, “Anything we can do to stem the carnage of mass shootings, and the everyday gun violence that plagues our communities must be done NOW. I applaud Governor Hochul Speaker Heastie and Majority Leader Stewart-Cousins for taking action at the state level and hopefully Congress will act too.”

Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez said, “Recent mass shootings have shocked the nation, and I commend the Legislature and Governor Hochul for taking quick and decisive action by passing new laws to make our neighborhoods safer. From loophole closures and a stronger Red Flag Law, to mandatory microstamping and a bill to combat hate on social media, New York continues to lead the nation with commonsense legislation to stop gun violence.”

Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz said, “Gun violence is a disease that has affected every part of our country. New York State, as usual, is leading the way when it comes to legislation that effectuates real change. I was proud to join Governor Kathy Hochul and state lawmakers, who have come together on a path forward for our nation by strengthening gun control measures. The more we limit access to firearms, the more lives are saved. I thank the Governor and the Legislature for their actions.”

Staten Island District Attorney Michael E. McMahon said, “As our nation mourns in the wake of multiple mass shootings, and we see a rise in the violent devastation caused by the flood of illegal guns on our City’s streets, especially in the hands of our youth, the fight to strengthen gun laws and prevent future tragedies has never been more urgent. This comprehensive bill package passed by the State Legislature and signed into law today by Governor Hochul is critical to assisting law enforcement in keeping our communities safe and ensuring firearms do not fall into the wrong hands. At the Staten Island District Attorney’s office, my prosecutors will continue to work zealously to hold accountable those who possess and use illegal firearms and to deliver justice for the victims of these violent crimes. At the same time, the national issue of gun violence demands immediate attention, and I urge our leaders on the federal level to enact similar measures to help curb senseless killings like we witnessed in Uvalde, Buffalo, and in far too many other mass shootings from recent memory. Protecting New Yorkers and all Americans from the scourge of gun violence must remain a top priority for leaders across government. On Staten Island, my office will continue working with a myriad of partners, from law enforcement, to elected leaders, anti-violence groups, and the healthcare community, to promote safer communities, provide more mental health resources, and work to prevent gun violence from spreading on our streets through vigorous precision policing and prosecution.” 

New York State United Teachers President Andy Pallotta said, “The pain New York’s education community feels after the horror of Buffalo and Uvalde is deep. But what gives us hope is the willingness of New York’s leaders to put politics aside and enact common sense measures to help address the scourge of gun violence and mass shootings that plagues this nation. We thank Governor Hochul and the Legislature for heeding the calls for change and will continue working with them to help our communities heal.”

United Federation of Teachers President Michael Mulgrew said, “We support common sense gun control measures to keep our children, schools, streets and communities safe. Our students are demanding we act.”

Giffords Law Center Deputy Chief Counsel David Pucino said, “The bills signed into law today will make New Yorkers safer. They close gaps in the law, introduce new innovations to help solve gun crime, and strengthen gun safety. No single policy will make the shootings stop, but these bills represent critical progress towards protecting our communities from gun violence. We thank Governor Hochul for her courageous leadership in the wake of unspeakable tragedy. Her efforts, and the efforts of our leaders in Albany, are a testament to New York as a leader in gun violence prevention.”

Executive Director of New Yorkers Against Gun Violence Rebecca Fischer said, “Faced with a surging gun violence crisis, Governor Hochul and the New York State Legislature have once again made it a priority this week to protect New Yorkers by passing a strong, life-saving slate of gun violence prevention bills. These measures will help keep guns away from people in crisis to prevent mass shootings, suicide and other gun violence, will require a license to purchase or possess a semi-automatic rifle anywhere in this state, and will provide law enforcement with a new tracing tool to stop gun trafficking and hold rogue gun dealers accountable. As New Yorkers and Americans, we should not have to fear gun violence on a daily basis in our neighborhoods or homes, in our subways, our supermarkets, our schools, our houses of worship, or anywhere else. While Congress continues to stall on meaningful national gun reform, we are grateful to have outstanding gun violence prevention champions leading our state government. Thank you Governor Hochul for signing these bills into law and keeping our children and all New Yorkers safe.”

Youth Over Guns Co-founder and Executive Director Luis Hernandez said, “As our communities face tragedy and grief we must find solutions to address the looming gun violence epidemic. Today is a historic day for the State of New York as we continue to lead the nation with robust, and common sense policies. Youth Over Guns is proud to stand alongside Governor Kathy Hochul as we work to ensure the wellbeing and safety of young people across the state. This is a remarkable step forward, and we invite our Federal representatives to look to NY for guidance. Today and always, we call for an end to this carnage simply because we deserve to grow up.”

Brady President Kris Brown said, “This is a historic day for New York and just the latest example of the state leading the nation in enacting common-sense and bold gun violence prevention laws. Governor Hochul has championed gun violence prevention and here reacted decisively following the tragic shooting in Buffalo to deliver life-saving policies that New Yorkers consistently agree on. Her leadership is an example to the country, and we applaud the legislature, Governor Hochul, and the many local and grassroots advocates who have supported these policies and ensured that they become law.”