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One month later: A look at new legislation following Buffalo mass shooting

Posted at 3:57 PM, Jun 14, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-14 16:00:53-04

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Tuesday marked one month since a racially motivated mass shooting at Tops Friendly Markets. In the wake of the Buffalo shooting and others, lawmakers have proposed or passed legislation aiming to bring an end to gun violence at multiple levels of government.

FEDERAL GOVERNMENT SEEKS COMPROMISE ON GUN CONTROL

The House of Representatives passed two measures in June that include an increased age limit for the purchase of certain firearms, as well as the creation of a Federal Extreme Risk Protection Order.

The Federal Extreme Risk Protection Order Act passed in the House 224 to 202, mostly on party lines. The bill would establish procedures for federal courts to issue ERPO's.

An ERPO prohibits a person from purchasing, possessing, or receiving a firearm or ammunition. A family or household member, or a law enforcement officer could petition an order for an individual who poses a risk to themselves or others.

The bill has been passed on to the Senate and referred to the Committee on the Judiciary.

The Protecting Our Kids Act also passed with little bipartisan support, 223 to 204. The bill makes changes to federal firearms laws, including the establishment of new criminal offenses and to expand the types of weapons and devices that are subject to regulation.

It would prohibit the sale of semiautomatic firearms to individuals who are under 21 years of age. Chris Jacobs (R, NY-27), was one of five House Republicans to vote in favor of the bill. The measure is not expected to pass the Senate.

The Senate is still in the process of crafting its own bills. An agreement on a narrow set of gun control proposals could be finished by the end of the week.

NEW YORK STATE INCREASES GUN LAWS

Governor Kathy Hochul signed a package of 10 bills that include increased gun restrictions this month.

Raising the Age to Purchase Semiautomatic Rifles

This legislation requires individuals to obtain a license prior to purchasing a semiautomatic rifle. Under preexisting New York State law, individuals must be 21 years or older to acquire a gun license.

Banning Body Armor

New York made it illegal to purchase and sell body vests for anyone who is not engaged in an eligible profession. Eligible professions include law enforcement officers and other professions, which will be designated by the Department of State in consultation with other agencies. It also requires that all body vest sales are completed in-person.

Red Flag Law Enhancement

The list of people who may file an Extreme Risk Protection Order (ERPO) petition was expanded to include health care practitioners who have examined an individual within the last six months.

It also requires police and district attorneys to file ERPO petitions when they have acquired credible information that an individual is likely to engage in conduct that would result in serious harm—either to themselves or others.

Microstamping

The Division of Criminal Justice Services is now required to certify or decline to certify that microstamping-enabled pistols are technologically viable and if certified as viable, to establish programs and processes for the implementation of such technology; and establishes the crime of the unlawful sale of a non-microstamping-enabled firearm.

New Definitions

The definition of a "firearm" is expanded to include any weapon not defined in the Penal Law that is designed or may readily be converted to expel a projectile by action of an explosive. This is intended to capture firearms that have been modified to be shot from an arm brace, which are evading our current definitions of firearms and rifles.

The grandfathering of large capacity ammunition feeding devices that were lawfully possessed prior to the enactment of the Safe Act or manufactured prior to 1994 is eliminated.

Enhancing Information Sharing

Reporting by law enforcement to the state and federal gun databases is enhanced. Agencies must report seized or recovered guns to the criminal gun clearinghouse; participate in the ATF's collective data sharing program; and enter the make, model, caliber, and serial number of the gun into the national crime information center.

The law also requires gun dealers to enact uniform security and reporting standards. It prohibits those under 18 and not accompanied by a parent from entering certain locations of a gun dealer's premises and requires training for all employees on conducting firearm, rifle, and shotgun transfers, including identification of and response to illegal purchases. It also requires State Police to conduct inspections of gun dealers every three years.

Improving Response and Reporting of Hateful and Threatening Social Media Content

Social media networks in New York are required to provide a clear and concise policy regarding how they would respond to incidents of hateful conduct on their platform and maintain easily accessible mechanisms for reporting hateful conduct on those platforms

A new Task Force will study and investigate the role of social media companies in promoting and facilitating violent extremism and domestic terrorism online.