In the wake of several recent massacres involving guns, New York’s legislature passed legislation Thursday banning anyone under age 21 from buying or possessing a semi-automatic rifle.
The decision came after the legislation spent Thursday evening debating the bill raising the age limit, which passed the Senate along party lines 43-20 and in the Assembly 102-47. The legislation is now set to head to Hochul’s desk for her signature.
New York already requires people to be 21 to possess a handgun. Younger people would still be allowed to have other types of rifles and shotguns, but the change in the law would restrict ownership of the type of fast-firing rifles used by the 18-year-old gunmen in the mass shootings in Buffalo and at a Texas elementary school. Besides raising the legal purchase age to 21, the bill would also require anyone buying a semiautomatic rifle to get a license — something now only required for handguns.
Semiautomatic rifles automatically load each bullet after firing, although firing requires pulling the trigger for each round. That makes it possible for mass murderers to kill more people in a short amount of time.
New York has now joined a handful of states — including Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Vermont, and Washington – that require buyers to be at least 21 instead of 18 to purchase some types of long guns. Similar legislation has been proposed in Utah.
Another bill set to pass in New York would require new guns to be equipped with microstamping technology, which would allow law enforcement investigators to more easily link weapons to fired bullets.