gun control

Not Old Enough to Drink, So How Can He Buy an AR-15? Gov Wants to Raise NY Gun Age

"How does an 18-year-old purchase an AR-15 in the state of New York, state of Texas? That person's not old enough to buy a legal drink," Gov. Kathy Hochul said Wednesday as she proposed raising the age limit

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New York's governor says she wants to raise to the age to legally purchase the type of weapons used in this month's mass shootings in Buffalo and Texas to 21 -- and she may want to change the rules around other firearms as well.

Kathy Hochul, a Democrat, is among swarms of elected leaders at all levels of government across multiple states calling for immediate and aggressive action on guns in the wake of shootings in a supermarket and an elementary school that killed 31 people in 10 days, more than half of them second-, third- and fourth-graders.

Law enforcement officials say the 18-year-old gunman who killed 19 children and two teachers at a Texas elementary school Tuesday had an AR-style rifle. So did the gunman who killed 10 Black people at a supermarket in Buffalo earlier this month.

Hochul said Wednesday she wants to work with the state Legislature to raise the legal purchasing age for AR-style rifles "at minimum ... but I'm going to take a look at everything."

"How does an 18-year-old purchase an AR-15 in the state of New York, state of Texas? That person's not old enough to buy a legal drink," the governor said at a press conference. "I want it to be 21. I think that's just common sense."

"The horrific shooting of 19 children and two teachers in Texas, not even two weeks after the mass murder of 10 New Yorkers in Buffalo, is yet another infuriating reminder of the plague of gun violence facing our nation," she added.

In 2021, Texas passed a package of gun laws that declared the state a "Second Amendment sanctuary state" and loosened restrictions on carrying handguns in public, among other changes. NBCLX storyteller Clark Fouraker explains.

Hochul directed flags to remain at half-staff -- since the ones honoring the Buffalo victims are still lowered -- to honor the victims of the Texas school shooting. She also announced a series of proposed actions to bolster safety in the latest shooting's aftermath, including ordering state police to increase visibility at schools out of an abundance of caution and convening an emergency meeting on school safety.

The increased presence applies to schools statewide and involves check-ins by both uniform and plainclothes officers. It will continue through the end of the school year.

"These are steps we shouldn't have to take," Hochul said of the new measures announced in the last days and weeks as outrage grows over the tragically spiking gun violence. "My administration will continue working to strengthen the gun laws in our state and put an end to these horrific acts, so that everyone -- from schoolchildren to those shopping four groceries to those visiting houses of worship -- can live without fear that their lives will be cut short by a weapon of war."

Last week, Hochul unveiled a series of gun initiatives in response to the supermarket shooting in her hometown city of Buffalo. Learn more about those efforts here.

Copyright NBC New York/Associated Press
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