NY lawmakers praise bipartisan framework on gun legislation

NY lawmakers praise bipartisan framework on gun legislation

New York lawmakers are praising a bipartisan agreement that could usher in an expanded set of federal gun control measures, including enhanced background checks and funding for red flag laws.

The deal, which follows back-to-back mass shootings in Buffalo and Uvalde, Texas, was announced on Sunday with the support of 10 Republicans and 10 Democrats in the US Senate.

While not yet finalized, the framework would provide incentives for states to adopt red flag laws, which allow for family or members of law enforcement to petition the courts to ban someone from buying a gun. It would also include more rigorous background checks for gun buyers between the ages of 18 to 21, increased penalties on “straw purchasing” of firearms, and additional funds for mental health resources.

In a statement, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer called the framework a “good first step,” adding that “for the first time in nearly 30 years Congress is on the path to take meaningful action to address gun violence.” He said he would put the bill on the floor for a vote as soon as the agreement is finalized.

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand called the framework “an important step toward tackling the gun violence that plagues our communities, schools, hospitals and places of worship.”

Mayor Eric Adams was similarly buoyant, noting the measures “begin to dam some of the rivers that lead to the sea of ​​gun violence.” The mayor, who recently tested before the US House on the need for common sense gun reform, has repeatedly called for the federal government to crack down on straw purchases, in which the actual purchaser of a gun uses another person to pass a background check.

“It looks like we’ll soon have one victory under our belt,” Adams said in a statement. “But, to be clear, these bipartisan proposals must be the beginning of federal progress, not the end.”

The bipartisan agreement does not include some of the more far-reaching reforms embraced by President Joe Biden and other gun control proponents, such as banning the sale of high capacity magazines and restricting the purchase of semiautomatic weapons to people 21 and older. While those measures passed in the House last week, they are widely seen as doomed in the Senate.

In a statement, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul said the agreement was a sign of “progress on combating the gun violence epidemic nationwide.” She also noted that New York recently banned sales of semiautomatic weapons to those under 21.

But while New York currently has some of the strictest gun laws in the country, a looming Supreme Court decision could loosen those laws, making it more difficult for the state to restrict concealed carry of firearms.

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