New York Gov. Kathy Hochul announced she is taking greater measures toward gun control following the racially motivated Buffalo mass shooting, per The Associated Press. Hochul plans to introduce bills that will keep people like Buffalo shooter Payton Gendron, from being able to access guns.
Previous reports found Gendron had threatened to carry out a mass shooting or commit a murder-suicide last year. New York’s “red flag” law, which was in place at the time, allows law enforcement to petition the court to take away someone’s firearms, per AP News. However, the only measure taken was sending him to a hospital for psychiatric evaluation and he was released shortly after with no follow up investigation.
Now, Hochul says police must also petition the court when someone is believed to be a threat before they get the chance to purchase a firearm.
More from AP News:
State police themselves have successfully applied for 300 of over 1,000 protection orders granted by courts under the red flag law, which became effective in fall 2019, according to State Police Superintendent Kevin Bruen.
Hochul said such orders typically last for one year but can be renewed. Courts can bar people from possessing or buying firearms or order them to give up firearms
New York will also track and try to stop violent domestic extremism on social media through new units in the state police and the state’s Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services.
The governor wants lawmakers to pass her bill to make more kinds of guns subject to the state’s firearm laws. Hochul, a Buffalo native, said the nation has almost become desensitized to the devastation of mass shootings and gun violence, and the spread of extremist ideology online.
The police units are also expected to fund local threat assessment teams and track social media to see when people show signs of radicalization, AP reported. Police, schools and mental health professionals will also be trained on domestic and homegrown extremism.
Rev. Al Sharpton said he hopes Hochul’s executive orders also address white supremacy and its role in online extremism.
“Because there was a time our parents had been running from the Klan, Ku Klux Klan. But the Klan wore hoods hiding them from the world. We’re living in a time where bigots livestream and show you who they are,” he said.