ALBANY — Gov. Kathy Hochul on Thursday signed three bills intended to address the state's gun violence epidemic, especially weapons that are falling through the cracks of what elected officials describe as loopholes in New York's otherwise stringent gun laws.
Appearing on Long Island, Hochul announced she had signed measures that outlaw the sale of anonymous "ghost guns" as well as the making or possession of so-called "toy guns" — real weapons crafted to look like child's playthings — and a bill that criminalizes the possession of unfinished gun frames and receivers by anyone other than a licensed gunsmith.
The signings mark Hochul's latest push toward tackling gun violence, an issue that remains a state of emergency in New York. The governor extended former Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo's state of emergency to Nov. 22 as the state looks to spend another $34 million of its $159 million package to address the problem through a myriad of programs and research.
The crisis "is not ending here today," Hochul said. "We're just getting started, and we're not going to stop until we know that every New Yorker feels safe and secure, and that individuals do not feel that their only option in life is to turn to crime."
Hochul's announcement came a day after reports of Attorney General Letitia James will announce a run for governor. James has made the issue of gun violence and ending the commerce in illegal firearms a core issue for her office.
"New York is once again taking the lead in ending the gun violence epidemic," state Sen. Brad Hoylman said at Thursday's signing.
Hoylman and Assemblywoman Linda B. Rosenthal, both Democrats of Manhattan, sponsored the legislation that criminalizes the sale of ghost guns, which do not have serial numbers and are put together in pieces. It also requires gunsmiths to register and serialize the firearms they assemble.
The toy gun bill was sponsored by Assemblyman Steve Stern, D-Melville, and Sen. John E. Brooks, D-Seaford.
"Guns that are disguised to appear to be toy guns pose a real threat to the citizenry of this state," the bill memo reads. "While the current number of reported cases of such guns are not numerous, such cases are becoming more commonplace and can be expected to continue increasing in the future. Banning such guns is a logical extension of the ban on disguised guns."
The other bill signed into law was sponsored by Assemblyman Charles D. Lavine, D-Glen Cove, and Sen.Anna M. Kaplan, D-North Hills. It makes it a crime to sell an unfinished frame or receiver.
"This should not be a matter of Democrats and Republicans," Lavine said. "Something is wrong if this is a matter of a difference between Democrats and Republicans — and something is wrong." Nearly every Republican voted against Lavine's bill.
Hochul has not yet acted on two bills focused on researching gun violence that were also delivered to her on Wednesday. She is "committed to working with all partners to combat gun violence," a spokesman said, and will be "reviewing these bills in the coming days."