ALBANY, N.Y. (WENY) – In the wake of Saturday’s mass shooting that took the lives of 10 black people in Buffalo on Saturday, Governor Kathy Hochul laid out a comprehensive package today to combat gun violence.
In addition to combatting hate and gun violence, Hochul is also addressing the rise in domestic terrorism, strengthening state gun laws, and a major crackdown on social media sites that promote extremist acts of violence.
“How many more lives need to be needlessly taken from us before we face the truth, and the truth is the most serious threat we face as a nation is from within it’s not from the Russians it’s not from people elsewhere white supremacists it’s white nationalism and it’s time we confronted it head-on,” Hochul said.
Governor Hochul says her goal is to help stop the violence across the state unveiling a package that proposes legislation to close gun loopholes and strengthen gun reporting by law enforcement.
Captain Bill Soltz with the Elmira Police Department says the goal with legislation like this is to help reduce crime. He explains under NYS penal law there is a definition of a firearm and believes Hochul wants to include more types of weapons into that category.
“To charge more people with a crime. Ghost guns are a huge issue for us because they are not marked they don’t have serial numbers they are assembled at home, bought off line, 3 D printers, or buy parts from different places and assemble them at home and they are not identifiable. They are not tracked or traced by law enforcement or any state or federal database,” Soltz said.
She has also issued two executive orders requiring state police to seize guns under the state’s red flag law to prohibit potentially dangerous people from possessing and purchasing weapons. Officials say, Payton Gendron, the 18-year-old active shooter had an AR -15 rifle that was purchased legally but illegally modified, Gendron had undergone a medical evaluation after making murder-suicide threats at his high school. However, no action was taken to keep him from purchasing weapons.
“He’s got some radical ideology and some clearly racist hatred towards people,” Soltz said.
Something else Hochul is pushing to pass bills that would mark bullets and cartridge cases with a unique fingerprint. Soltz says this will help them identify the gun that was used to fire bullets in a crime, it’s identifiable like a serial number.
“Microstamping is more unique it’s going to have a microstamping on the firing pin so when we get shell casings from a crime scene we can send those to the lab and they’ll be able to identify this was fired from a specific gun,” Soltz explained.
Now Hochul’s other executive order is designed to target online extremism and establish a new domestic terrorism Unit with the Office of Counter-Terrorism and will have State police dedicate a unit to monitoring social media sites for extremist threats. She is also requesting the AG’s office investigate social media sites that promote hate and the role they play in these acts of violence.