NY Lawmakers Look to Raise Age to Buy Semiautomatic Rifles, Ban Body Armor

New York State Capitol in Albany, New York

(Bloomberg) – Governor Kathy Hochul and legislative leaders pledged to raise the legal age to purchase semi-automatic rifles such as  AR-15s, in New York to 21 years old from 18, and pass a package of measures to tighten gun laws before the end of the state’s legislative session this week.

Citing the mass shootings in Buffalo, New York, and Uvalde, Texas, local officials said they wanted to close loopholes and address the gaps in laws exposed by the back-to-back massacres.

The bills would prohibit the purchase of body armor for civilians, require a license to purchase a semiautomatic rifle, make threatening mass harm a crime and strengthen the state’s “red flag laws.” The measures would also require new pistols to be equipped with microstamping technology, which uses lasers to imprint markings on a firearm to make it easier to trace guns to registered owners.

The bill to raise the age to buy assault rifles would bring New York in line with states like Illinois, Washington, Hawaii and Florida, which passed the law in response to the 2018 Parkland High School shooting. On microstamping, it would align the laws in New York with California, which became the first jurisdiction to enact legislation requiring the technology in 2007.

“Our nation has been brought to a moment of reckoning due to weapons of war that have been too easily accessed by those seeking to kill,” Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins said in a statement. “These weapons have made places in our communities like schools, grocery stores, houses of worship, and concerts, places of carnage. In these devastating times in New York and across the nation, we have worked with Governor Hochul, Speaker Heastie, and members of the Democratic Legislature to step up and send a message that this path of gun violence is unacceptable and we need real change.”

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