Gun reform dominates final days of NYS legislative session (WBEN)

Originally published in WBEN on May 31, 2022.

Photo Credit: Audacy

Sen. Sean Ryan expects action on raising the age for a long gun purchase, broadened red flag laws, and regulating the sale of body armor

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WBEN) As the legislative session enters its final week in Albany, at least three gun reform measures are on the table.

"In all corners of New York State there is tremendous grief and pain," said State Senator Sean Ryan (D-Buffalo) on WBEN Tuesday morning.

"Everyone is shaking their head, expressing grief for Buffalo, and not wanting (a mass shooting) to happen in their community. It's very real," he said.

The Senator from North Buffalo said he expects to see a few things happen this week.

"For one, we're most likely going to raise the age from 18 to 21 to buy a long gun." Ryan said the shooters in Buffalo and Texas both recently turned 18 and went out and legally bought weapons used in the attacks.

Ryan said the senate and assembly are also going to crack down and regulate the sale of body armor. "Who needs body armor, if you're not in law enforcement?" The suspect in the Tops shooting in Buffalo was outfitted, from head to toe in body armor. "That should not be readily available for sale in the marketplace, in my opinion," said the senator.

Senator Ryan introduced a bill that would effectively bar online sales of such gear by requiring a seller to physically deliver vests to customers. "By banning internet sales, you're left with direct point of purchase, or face to face sales.
It's the same for liquor, cigarettes and pharmaceuticals. There's a reason for face to face sales," he added.

There are a limited number of physical stores that sell body armor. Some stores that sell police uniforms also sell body armor. Ryan said those stores are used to selling to law enforcers, and anyone who is non-law enforcement, would raise eyebrows.

There is a second bill that would ban the sale of body armor altogether unless you're a member of law enforcement. Ryan said both bills will be considered. Lawmakers are trying to determine which one would have the greatest impact.

Red flag laws are also on the menu this week for state lawmakers. "When we first passed the red flag law, we kept it narrow as to who could report someone who could pose a threat to themselves or others. Now, we're trying to update that so other people can report a red flag to law enforcement. Currently, only close relatives, law enforcement and certain school officials can raise a red flag. We would like to broaden that so an employer and other people in the community can also raise a red flag if someone is recognized as being unstable and owning guns."

Ryan expects the gun control measures to be brought up on Wednesday and Thursday at the state capitol.

"A good guy with a gun stops a bad guy with a gun. That adage is not working anymore," said Ryan. "We need to be nimble and we need to respond. And it's being left to state governments because Congress and the US Senate refuse to act."