New York tightens gun laws in wake of Buffalo shooting

Gun control protester.
(Image credit: Eric Thayer/Getty Images)

The New York state legislature on Thursday passed a package of gun legislation that will raise the minimum age to buy a semiautomatic rifle to from 18 to 21, ban a majority of civilians from buying bullet-resistant body vests, and revise the state's red flag laws, The New York Times and Associated Press report.

The bills, pushed through by the legislature's Democratic majority, are now heading to Gov. Kathy Hochul's (D) desk, where she is "widely expected" to sign them into law, the Times notes. The new package makes New York the first state to approve legislation following shootings in Buffalo and Texas that left 10 and 21 dead, respectively.

New York already requires handgun owners be at least 21 years of age, AP notes, and younger individuals will still be allowed to have other types of rifles and handguns. The new law, however, will restrict access to the "fast-firing" rifles both young gunmen used in the Buffalo and Texas shootings. New buyers will also be required to obtain a license before buying a semiautomatic rifle.

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The change will more so impact areas outside of New York City — which already requires permits to possess, carry, and purchase any type of firearm, and typically restricts applicants under 21 — and will bring the state in line with a number of others — like Florida, Illinois, and Vermont — where buyers are required to be at least 21 to purchase certain types of long guns, AP writes.

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