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New York to make changes to gun laws following recent shootings

The state of New York have pledged to increased the age to buy an assault rifle to 21-years and placed a ban on body armour.

Assault rifles will no longer be available for purchase from the age of 18 in the US state of New York, with Governor Kathy Hochul pledging to increase the legal age to 21.

The perpetrators of both the Buffalo shooting and Uvalde school shooting last week were 18-years-old, meaning they could easily purchase the weapons used to carry out the attacks.

Kathy Hochul
New York Governor Kathy Hochul | Credit: Andrew Harnik/AP

Before the end of the week, New York’s legislative leaders will sit down to discuss amendments to the state’s gun laws, including the age increase, and a ban on civilians purchasing body armour.

Other potential changes would mean licences are needed to purchase any semiautomatic rifle, and pistols would need to be equiped with microstamping technology which will help trace guns to their registered owners using lasers.

In a statement, Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins said, “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.”

“These weapons have made places in our communities like schools, grocery stores, houses of worship, and concerts, places of carnage,” she continued.

“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.”

Raising the age of gun purchases puts would put New York in the company of Illinois, Washington, Hawaii, and Florida who all pushed the cut-off to 21 following the 2018 Parkland High School shooting.

It seems wild that you can’t drink alcohol at the age of 18, but you can walk straight into a shop and purchase a gun without a license. So while this may be a small step, it could make a huge difference for gun safety in the state of New York.