(The Center Square) – In response to Tuesday’s mass shooting incident at a Uvalde, Texas, school that left 19 children dead, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul announced on Wednesday that police officers would conduct routine check-ins at schools through the rest of the year.
- By Steve Bittenbender | The Center Square contributor
- April 25th, 2022
- The Roosevelt Island Daily News
That announcement was one of several related to gun control and violence prevention she made during a press conference while the Intra-State Gun Tracing Consortium met in East Greenbush.
In addition, Hochul said she would call a special session of the New York Legislature should the U.S. Supreme Court overturn a state law requiring residents to show cause to acquire a concealed carry license. A decision on that case should come in the near future.
The state Legislature’s regular session ends June 2.
“I’ll do whatever I have to do to protect people in this state,” the governor said.
Hochul also raised concerns about individuals under the age of 21 being able to purchase semi-automatic rifles. The accused gunmen in the Uvalde shooting and the May 14 Tops market shooting where 10 died in Buffalo were both 18-year-old males with AR-15 style weapons.
She added that she would not let the fear of losing a court case deter her from seeking stronger gun control measures.
“How does an 18-year-old purchase an AR-15 in the state of New York, state of Texas?” she asked. “That person’s not old enough to buy a legal drink. I want to work with the Legislature to change that. I want it to be 21. I think that’s just common sense.”
Regarding the school checks, New York State Police Superintendent Kevin Buren said state police officers would physically go to schools within troopers’ patrol areas every day and contact other schools. Buren said his department would not duplicate efforts if local law enforcement officers are already making stops.
Buren also said he did not have a position on requiring schools to employ resource officers. He told reporters that’s a local decision, but he would support it if local leaders felt it built trust in the community.
“I can’t stress enough that the biggest challenge that we have in this state for fighting street crime or other events like this is when communities and police become separate,” Buren said. “If the community trusts the police and the police in turn, trust their own communities and cooperate. It is a force multiplier on an exponential basis in terms of effective justice and policing.”
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