The legislature in New York State passed a package of legislation on Thursday evening to strengthen gun laws in the state, according to the websites of local senate and assembly.
Notably, the minimum age for buying and possessing a semi-automatic rifle would be raised to 21 from 18.
New York State Governor Kathy Hochul and leaders of the state legislature announced the introduction of the package on Tuesday, which includes ten bills.
“This comprehensive package will close loopholes, give law enforcement the tools they need to prevent easy access to guns, and stop the sale of dangerous weapons to 18-year-olds,” said Hochul in a statement on the passage of the legislative package.
Hochul is expected to sign these bills into law soon.
The new legislation has been met with opposition from many Republicans, who argue that the gun limitations would “inconvenience law-abiding firearms owners and could be easily circumvented by people determined to get weapons,” the Associated Press reported.
State senator Alexis Weik, a Republican, said that an 18-year-old could still travel to another state to buy a semi-automatic rifle, and was replied by senator Kevin Thomas, a Democrat, as saying that “Are you advocating for federal gun control? Because that what’s needed.”
The prospect of a federal legislation, however, remains murky, as measures, including banning assault weapons and passing universal background checks, are deemed unlikely in Congress, where “fierce Republican opposition has historically stood in their way,” The New York Times said in its report on President Joe Biden’s address calling for gun control action on Thursday.
New York State has relatively strict gun controls with the minimum age to possess a handgun already set at 21 years old. Meanwhile, New York City requires permits to possess, carry and purchase any type of firearm and prohibits most applicants under 21 years old.
Still, gun violence continues to plague New Yorkers’ daily life with a gunman shooting ten straphangers in the subway system of New York City in April and another 18-years-old man fatally shooting ten and injuring three in Buffalo of New York in May.