Unelected New York Governor Kathy Hochul signed sweeping new measures into law today that range from broad gun control measures to social media monitoring.
Hochul highlighted several of the 10 bills she passed, all having been approved last week by state Democratic lawmakers.
In a news conference she said "We're raising the age of semi-automatic weapons so no 18-year-old can walk in on their birthday and walk out with an AR-15."
NY Senate Bill S9458 prohibits anyone under 21 from buying or possessing a semi automatic rifle. Previously in New York State anyone over 16 years of age could buy and possess long guns ranging from shotguns to rifles.
Hochul said, "this is a moral moment for the people of New York but also the rest of the nation. Follow what we did here in New York, and we'll finally start to be at the beginning of the end of all this gun violence and the massacres that are occurring every day in our country." Last week Hochul specifically referenced the recent shootings in Buffalo, NY and Uvalde, Texas as inspiration for the new gun laws.
Further measures Hohul has signed into law include NY Senate Bill S9407B which prevents citizens from purchasing body armor and bullet proof vests.
Senate Bill S9456 changes the definition of a firearm to include "any other weapon that is not otherwise defined containing any component that provides housing or a structure designed to hold or integrate any fire control component that is designed to or may readily be converted to expel a projectile by action of explosive" or as Hochul calls it: "any other weapon" as now vaguely defined by the state.
NY Senate Bill 4116A enacts microstamping technology requiring bullets to be microstamped with identifying information unique to its source gun, effectively bypassing ballistics tests.
Not all of the new laws were explicitly gun related. NY Senate Bill S9465 establishes a "task force on social media and violent extremism" which requires persons suspected of "bias-related violence and intimidation" to be reported to the state's attorney general.
Another, NY Senate Bill S9113A is considered a 'red flag' law which "authorizes the filing of an application for an extreme risk protection order by a licensed physician, licensed psychiatrist, licensed psychologist, registered nurse, licensed clinical social worker, certified clinical nurse specialist, certified nurse practitioner, licensed clinical marriage and family therapist, registerered professional nurse, licensed master social worker or licensed mental health counselor ho has examined the person against whom the order is sought." [sic]
New York's new red flag law is one of the most expansive in the country, enabling professionals ranging from doctors to social workers to health counselors the ability to order "extreme risk protection" on an individual without any definition as to the mechanism or limiting principles of the ordinance. As Pew highlighted in 2019, these laws can prove troubling pathways over due process.
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