Senator Hoylman Introduces Legislation Raising Age of Firearm Ownership in New York from 16 to 21

Legislation will close loophole in New York law that allows young people between the ages of 16 and 21 to possess rifles and shotguns, including some types of assault-style weapons

Hoylman: Shootings are now the third leading cause of death for children in the United States. Since Washington refuses to act, New York must take additional steps to reduce gun deaths among kids.” 

NEW YORK, NY – State Senator Brad Hoylman (D/WF-Manhattan), Ranking Member on the Senate Judiciary Committee, introduced legislation to close a loophole in New York law that allows young people between the ages of 16 and 21 to possess rifles and shotguns, including SAFE Act compliant AR-15 assault-style weapons, despite prohibitions on the purchase of these weapons. Hoylman’s legislation comes after Senate Republicans voted down a comprehensive gun safety package introduced by the Democrats for the second time in two weeks.

In New York, youths between 16 and 21 years cannot possess handguns, but they can own long guns, including rifles, shotguns and even assault-style weapons approved by the SAFE Act. Hoylman’s legislation would close this loophole, setting a uniform age requirement of 21 years to possess all firearms in New York, while allowing continued exceptions for individuals with hunting licenses, the military, police, and use at licensed shooting ranges.

Senator Brad Hoylman said: “Shootings are now the third leading cause of death for children in the United States. Since Washington refuses to act, New York must take additional steps to reduce gun deaths among kids. My new legislation closes a loophole in New York law that allows 16-year-olds to possess dangerous firearms, including rifles, shotguns and even some types of assault-style weapons. By raising the age to 21 years and making the age of ownership uniform across all types of firearms in New York, we’ll help protect kids from guns.”

According to the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, 23 states have closed similar loopholes in their own laws, setting a minimum age for possession of long guns between 18 and 21. Hoylman’s legislation, changing New York’s minimum age to 21, would bring New York in line with Hawaii, Illinois, and Washington D.C. This legislation joins a number of gun safety bills that Senator Hoylman sponsors, including S.6902 to ban bump stocks in New York, and S.7133, which he co-sponsors with State Senator Brian Kavanagh, that would establish Extreme Risk Protection Orders.

“We applaud Senator Hoylman for once again introducing common-sense gun safety legislation that will prevent tragedies and is in the best interest of our children,” said Rebecca Fischer, Executive Director of New Yorkers Against Gun Violence. “It’s time for New York to close loopholes in our state law and follow the lead of other states that already have this reasonable age requirement on the books. Now, perhaps more than ever, New Yorkers—including our children—recognize that smart laws protect our families and our communities. “

"An 18-year-old who can't buy a beer should not be able to walk into a gun store and buy an AR-15,” said Nico Bocour, State Legislative Director at Giffords. “Weapons this lethal don't belong in the hands of kids still in high school. This is an important step towards keeping our schools and communities safe from gun violence. We applaud Sen. Hoylman for introducing this legislation.”

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