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New York enacts sweeping gun control laws in wake of Buffalo shooting and other gun violence

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Hochul signs 10 bills to combat gun violence into law
Hochul signs 10 bills to combat gun violence into law 02:28

NEW YORK -- New York state took another step to strengthen gun legislation on Monday.

Gov. Kathy Hochul signed a package of new laws in response to the mass shooting in Buffalo. But as CBS2's Aundrea Cline-Thomas reported, some question if it will actually make communities safer.

From the overnight killing of a 21-year-old in Queens to mass shootings, lawmakers, including the mayor of Buffalo, gathered in the Bronx as Hochul signed 10 bills meant to address the gun violence plaguing the state, while hoping to send a message across the nation.

"This is a moment of reckoning for us as New Yorkers and as Americans," Hochul said.

Gov. Hochul signs gun control measures into law 45:26

The legislation includes stronger "red flag" laws that could prevent more people deemed a threat from buying a gun, plus microstamping for new semi-automatic weapons so bullets can be traced back to a gun.

The laws will also require social media companies to report hate speech on their platforms, and they raise the age to buy semi-automatic weapons from 18 to 21.

"So no 18-year-old can walk in on their birthday and walk out with an AR-15. Those days are over," Hochul said.

New York state already has some of the toughest gun laws in the country, so tough that when it comes to violent crimes a vast majority of guns used are from out of state and are handguns, not AR-15s.

"What drives gun policy are these mass shootings and these mass shootings are very, very different than the majority of gun violence we see in this country is," said Warren Eller of John Jay College of Criminal Justice.

When it comes to day-to-day crimes, Eller says the new laws fall short.

"We're probably not going to see a lot of relief anywhere across the board," Eller said.

The New York State Rifle and Pistol Association is also pushing back.

"Gun laws don't work because they only keep the lawful ... legal citizens will obey those laws. Criminals won't obey the laws," Executive Director Tom King said.

But doing nothing is no longer an option. As gun violence devastates communities, it has become a top concern for voters.

State leaders supporting the new legislation are hoping New York will become a model for other states and the federal government to follow.

Click here for more details on the new gun laws. 


Watch the bill signing

Gov. Hochul signs gun control measures into law 45:26
By CBS New York Team

Buffalo mayor: "Evil will not win"

Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown speaks before the governor signs new gun control bills into law.  CBS News New York

"We are still hurting, we are still grieving, and we are still in pain from what happened in our community on May 14," Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown told the crowd. 

"In Buffalo, in the Bronx, in Brooklyn, all across New York state, all across this nation, people deserve to be safe going about their daily lives. They should not have to worry about getting gunned down while shopping on a beautiful Saturday afternoon," he went on to say. "Yes, in Buffalo a white supremacist traveled three and a half hours to our community with the stated purpose of killing as many Black people as possible. But as President Biden said when he came to Buffalo to comfort the families, evil will not win, hate will not win. And this day of action is about making sure that it doesn't win in New York state."

By CBS New York Team

"Those days are over!"

Among the changes being signed into law Monday is a bill to raise the age to purchase a semi-automatic rifle, like the AR-15 allegedly used in the Buffalo supermarket massacre, from 18 to 21. 

The governor grew passionate as she spoke about the issue. 

"No 18-year-old can walk in on their birthday and walk out with an AR-15. Those days are over. Those days are over. You hear that? Those days are over!" Hochul exclaimed to a standing ovation. 

By CBS New York Team

"A state in mourning... a nation in crisis"

Gov. Kathy Hochul set to sign New York's sweeping package of gun control measures.  CBS News New York

"I'm speaking to you today as the governor of a state in mourning, and the citizen of a nation in crisis. For over the past few weeks, we've been overcome by grief, by heartache, by anger," the governor said ahead of the bill signing. "First of all, ten of our brothers and sisters in my hometown were senselessly slaughtered while grocery shopping at a place called Tops Friendly Markets, targeted by a white supremacist, literately because of the color of their skin -- his words, not mine.

"And yet, before these wounds even had a chance to heal, more news, more headlines about the slaughter of 19 babies in grade school and two teachers at an elementary school in Uvalde."

By CBS New York Team

New York leading the charge on gun control

As CBS2's John Dias reports, Monday's bill signing will be historic. Once the governor puts her pen to paper, the state will officially be leading the way on gun control laws. 

Hochul will be tightening access to guns across the state, in wake of the devastating mass shootings in recent weeks. 

The bills quickly passed both the state senate and assembly last week. 

Gov. Hochul set to sign gun control package 02:45

"Shooting after shooting makes it clear that they must be even stronger to keep New Yorkers safe," the governor said in a statement last Thursday. 

The package includes bills that revise the state's red flat laws and raise the age to buy a semi-automatic rifle from 18 to 21. Just weeks ago, an 18-year-old allegedly used one to kill 10 people at a supermarket in Buffalo

The sweeping set of bills also requires buyers of semi-automatic guns to obtain a permit first, which includes background checks, and it prevents most people from buys bulletproof vests. 

"We have to be the ones to take action. And frankly, I hope that others will follow our lead," said State Sen. Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins. 

The new laws also tighten rules at gun shops. Gun dealers must implement a security plan for securing firearms, and provide training to all employees on how to properly transfer firearms. Customers under 18 will not be allowed to enter certain areas without their parents or guardians. 

But as state lawmakers mount these renewed efforts, the U.S. Supreme Court is poised to issues its most significant Second Amendment ruling in more than a decade, as early as this week, issuing its opinion on New York's conceal-carry laws. 

The new laws would also require state police to conduct inspections of gun dealers every three years. 

With more information sharing that comes with this package, means more help with tracking down guns that have been unlawfully purchased or trafficked outside the state. 

By John Dias
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