New York Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) has unveiled a new plan to investigate social media platforms promoting online extremism and “combat domestic terrorism” through executive orders to reinforce state gun laws.
The measures, announced on Hochul’s official Twitter account Wednesday afternoon, come five days after a white gunman killed 10 people and injured three others at a supermarket on Buffalo’s east side. Eleven of the victims were black.
Hochul also gave marching orders to the New York State Police. The Democratic governor wants the state police to create a unit devoted to monitoring the spread of hate speech online and to retrieve all weapons under the state’s red flag law from individuals deemed a danger to themselves or others.
The New York Post reports:
Hochul — who just hours before the shooting suggested to The Post that her anti-crime legislative efforts were done for the year — is also pushing for state lawmakers to pass several pieces of legislation.
One bill would require that semi-automatic handguns made or sold in New York include features that would mark ammunition with a microstamp after it is fired, which would help law enforcement better investigate gun crimes.
Other legislation would require law enforcement to report within 24 hours any firearm they recover from a crime scene. Hochul is also pushing a new bill that would expand the definition of firearms to include additional types of guns.
Law enforcement officials in New York’s Broome County questioned the gunman in 2021 for threatening his classmates. When asked by a teacher about his post-graduation plans, he allegedly said, “I want to murder and commit suicide.” He was transported to a local hospital for a mental health evaluation and underwent counseling. While in the hospital, the future mass murderer told police officers he was joking. The hospital staff decided to discharge him after a day and a half. Because his stay didn’t qualify as an involuntary commitment, he could still purchase guns under federal law.
Investigators at the time didn’t consider his threats specific enough to warrant further action.