The legislature of the Albany Assembly, the New York State Congress, has concluded its sessions with a clear endorsement of gun control. The signing of a dozen laws that restrict access by the governor, Democrat Katy Hochul, represents a step forward in attempts to regulate the sale and possession of weapons, in a country still shocked by the massacres of Buffalo ( New York) and Uvalde (Texas). Hochul has signed this Monday in the Big Apple the legislation approved on Thursday, a package of ten bills that, among other provisions, raises the legal age to buy an assault weapon from 18 to 21 years, as well as the acquisition of bulletproof vests. Both the perpetrator of the racist massacre in Buffalo (10 victims, mostly African American) and the shooter in Uvalde (21 fatalities, 19 of them children) used this type of weapon, which they had purchased legally after coming of age. to commit the killings. They were also protected by professional bulletproof vests, with quasi-military paraphernalia in the case of the former.
“We cannot continue living like this,” Hochul said during the signing of the omnibus law in a ceremony held in the Bronx district. “It is a moral obligation for the people of New York, but also for the rest of the nation. Follow what we have done here in New York and we will finally begin to see the beginning of the end of all this, of the gun violence and massacres that occur daily in our country.
When the violence unleashed this weekend still reverberates, with multiple mass shootings that have left more than a dozen victims, the initiative of the Albany Assembly -emerged as a result of the event in Buffalo, and confirmed by that of Uvalde- supposes a a new twist to what was already the most restrictive legislation in the country. As for congressional initiatives, where Democrats have a slim majority, President Joe Biden has admitted the difficulty of getting the support of some Republicans to push through tougher legislation. In fact, Republican Congressman Chris Jacobs, whose district includes suburban Buffalo, dropped out of his re-election campaign last week after his support for an assault weapons ban sparked an angry reaction from his party. . Jacobs also received a public reprimand from Donald Trump Jr., eldest son of the former president.
The ten bills signed today by the governor include measures to limit the sale of bulletproof vests to law enforcement and other security professionals. The killers of Búfalo and Uvalde were wearing heavy protective vests, which saved the life of the first but could do nothing for the second, who was finished off in the primary school classroom where he had barricaded himself with schoolchildren and teachers. The legislative package also requires social media companies operating in New York to adopt the utmost transparency in addressing and responding to hateful messages posted on their platforms, another constant in these types of events by perpetrators, who often throw their plans or even boast about their attempts.
In most of New York, 16-year-olds could still have other types of rifles and shotguns (not the newly regulated semiautomatics, much more lethal because of the speed of the bursts they fire). The state, which already required you to be 21 years old to purchase a handgun, now joins a small group of others, including Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Vermont and Washington, that require buyers to be at least 21 by that time. type of long guns. Similar legislation has been proposed in Utah, while California’s attempt to raise the legal purchase age for semi-automatic weapons has been challenged in court.
More than 124 people have been killed and 325 injured in more than 300 shootings in the United States since Friday, according to GunViolenceArchive.org, a Washington-based NGO that tracks firearms incidents across the country. The average is staggering: at least one and a half every day.
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