ALBANY, N.Y. (WHEC) – Governor Kathy Hochul signed 10 new gun laws. One raises the age to buy a semi-automatic weapon to 21. Another strengthens the state’s red flag law.
The red flag law allowed certain people, from police to parents, to file a petition removing guns from someone they considered to be an immediate risk.
In the nearly two years of the law, there had not been one filed in Monroe County. But that has changed since the mass shooting in Buffalo.
“It just keeps happening. Shots ring out. Flags come down. And nothing ever changes,” Governor Hochul said at her bill signing event Monday morning. “Except here in New York.”
The bills the governor signed today include a ban on body armor for citizens, holding social media companies accountable for hate posts, making the threat of mass harm a crime, and raising the age to buy a semi-automatic weapon to 21.
“So no 18-year-old can walk in on their birthday and walk out with an AR-15,” Hochul said. “Those days are over! Those days are over!”
Police say the alleged shooter in Buffalo legally bought an AR-15 rifle in New York after he turned 18 and less than a year after State Police arrested him on a mental hygiene case.
“This is a day that the families of the victims in Buffalo have asked for,” Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown said.
The enhanced red flag law makes police and district attorneys file extreme risk protection orders if they think a person is likely to cause serious harm.
And now doctors and nurses can file them within six months of seeing a patient.
My reporting showed that prior to the Buffalo shooting, there had been zero ERPOs filed in Monroe County. However, in the last three weeks, there have been three. And since the Buffalo shooting, 114 have been filed in the state.
“I think what you’re going to see more now is not only the filing of these applications, I think judges are going to uphold these temporary orders a lot more based on recent events,” said Derrick Hogan, partner at the law firm Tully Rinckey.
Before the shooting in Buffalo, courts approved a temporary order to a full order about 40 percent of the time. That percentage has not changed since Buffalo.
Since the mass shooting there, two more ERPOs were filed in Genesee, Ontario, and Wayne Counties.