After Tuesday’s mass shooting at a Texas elementary school, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul urged state lawmakers to make it more difficult to purchase an AR-15-type rifle by raising the minimum purchase age from 18 to 21.
“I don’t want 18-year-olds to have guns,” Hochul said Wednesday at a meeting of the Interstate Task Force on Illegal Guns, according to The Hill.
A group of law enforcement representatives from nine northeastern states, Hochul created the task force in January to address the issue of illegal guns.
“I want to work with the legislature to do something that is far more common sense than we have right now,” the Democrat governor said. “At minimum, the AR-15s, but I’m going to take a look at everything.”
Hochul’s remarks came a day after at least 19 children and two teachers were killed by an 18-year-old gunman who entered Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas.
The Hill reports that the gunman purchased two AR-15-type rifles and ammunition legally shortly after he turned 18.
Hochul drew parallels from the Texas tragedy to a mass shooting at a Buffalo, N.Y., grocery store earlier this month that killed 10 people and left three injured. The alleged gunman in that shooting was 18 years old and purchased an AR-15 legally in the state, according to Hochul.
“The common denominator?” Hochul said, during the task force meeting. “There are three. The weapon was an AR-15, the perpetrator was a male and the age of the perpetrator is 18.”
New York State Police will also check in on schools every day until the end of the academic year, Hochul said.
State Police Superintendent Kevin Bruen told The Hill officers are “physically going” to schools in the area it covers and will contact school administrators in places where local law enforcement agencies may already provide coverage.
“Police agencies need to reach out, and communities need to reach back out to the police and we need to reestablish better relationships across the state,” Bruen said.
Hochul and gun-regulation advocates are bracing for an upcoming Supreme Court ruling on New York’s concealed carry law, which only allows people to carry a gun in public if they can prove they need more protection than others.
During arguments in November, justices seemed skeptical of the law, which is the first major Second Amendment challenge in more than 10 years.
If the high court strikes down the law, Hochul said she would potentially call a special session of the state legislature.
“I’ll do whatever I have to do to protect the people of this state,” she said.
New York’s annual legislative session wraps up the first week of June.
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