Senate Passes Gun Legislation, Including Sen. Thomas' Bill to Raise the Age on Semiautomatic Rifles

Kevin Thomas

June 03, 2022

Credit: New York State Senate

(Albany, NY) — Tonight, the Senate passed legislation to tighten New York's gun laws, close loopholes and directly address gaps in our laws exposed by recent mass shootings, including legislation introduced by Senator Kevin Thomas (D-Levittown) regarding permits for semiautomatic rifles. Less than halfway through 2022, the United States has already endured over 200 mass shootings, with guns ranking as the number one cause of death among kids and teens. This public health crisis stands alone as one that could be prevented with effective leadership.

S.9458 (Thomas)/ A10503 (Jackson) will require an individual obtain a license prior to purchasing or taking possession of a semiautomatic rifle. Currently, permits are only required for semiautomatic handguns under existing law and does not apply to semiautomatic rifles. Permits are only available to people over the age of 21, and require a safety course and background checks. This is prospective and applies to purchases made on and after the effective date and will not impact current gun owners.

This legislation package also updates the criminal code to make the threat of mass harm a crime; require microstamping of ammunition; strengthens measures to prevent those with criminal backgrounds from obtaining guns and ammo; allows health care providers to file extreme risk protection orders and strengthens regulations for high-capacity ammo and body armor.

Senator Kevin Thomas said, “New York has already enacted some of the strongest gun safety laws in the country, but today’s common sense legislation package is another step in the right direction. The tragedies in Buffalo and Uvalde showed us – yet again – that there is a correlation between mass shootings and young kids with unnecessary access to semiautomatic weapons, and this is absolutely something that must be changed. We will not stand by and wait for more New Yorkers to die before we enact logical gun safety measures at the State level.

I am grateful to Majority Leader Stewart-Cousins for pushing this impactful legislative package; as well as for the community leaders, gun violence prevention advocates, and survivors who work tirelessly to keep New Yorkers safe. “