BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – New York Gov. Kathy Hochul called on lawmakers to pass stronger gun control laws after a mass shooter killed 10 people Saturday in a racially targeted attack at a Buffalo supermarket.
“I want our place in history to be the place of the last mass shooting in this country,” Hochul said Sunday at a press conference in Buffalo. “And working together, we will achieve that.”
Hochul said the tragedy in her hometown “calls for a national response.”
“I continue to call on Washington to do just some basic things that we’ve done here in New York. I also call on the Supreme Court, which is actually considering rolling back some of the protections that were put in place here to protect New York citizens from gun violence,” Hochul said.
Her sentiments were echoed by Buffalo mayor Byron Brown, a fellow Democrat, during an appearance Sunday on NBC’s Meet the Press.
“We’ve seen many of these mass shootings around the country year in and year out, month in and month out. And it’s always the same refrain,” Brown said. “People send their thoughts and their prayers. Lawmakers in Washington say that there’s something that must be done. And then there are some on one side of the aisle that block anything from being done. It seems like there are those that believe owning a gun is more precious than the sanctity of human life.
“So I think people all across this country have to rise up,” Brown, a fifth-term mayor, continued. “They have to speak more loudly and more clearly that there must be gun control in this country. This is a uniquely American phenomenon. These mass shootings don’t happen in other countries across the world. We have to ask ourselves — and more than ask ourselves, we have to take action to stop it, to stop it after this Buffalo, New York incident, to make sure that other communities, that other families don’t go through this again.”
Buffalo Police commissioner Joseph Gramaglia said the 18-year-old gunman used an AR-15 rifle during the attack and had other guns in his car. The gunman’s alleged manifesto said that the AR-15 was selected because of how deadly it can be, adding, “after some modifications [it] will be able to effectively kill.”
“What was used was not purchased legally in the state of New York,” Hochul said. “The basic gun was, but the high-capacity magazine associated with it had to come from another state because it is illegal in the state of New York. We need a smart national policy. And let’s start with something that’s — what I would say — is in the no-brainer category after Sandy Hook. Shame on this county, shame on Congress at that time, for not passing something as basic as a background check.
“So I’m ready to recharge that conversation,” she said. “Yes, it’s a challenging time politically, but that doesn’t mean we should stand down and let the criminals win.”
Hochul was asked in a follow-up question if she had heard from any Republican lawmakers who were willing to cooperate.
“No, but I expect to hear from them,” she replied. “Because these are their constituents as well. They represent other New Yorkers, other people across this county. This is a time when, regardless of your political philosophy or registration, leaders need to lead. Step up. Step up. This could happen in red as easily as blue states. We have a national moment here. The world is focused on what happened in Buffalo.
“Yes, it is white supremacy terrorism, domestic terrorism, we have to fight that, but that coupled with the access to guns is the lethal combination that we have to continue to stop. So I call on leaders everywhere: regardless of what you may have felt about guns in the past, this is a time to say we actually value people’s lives. And that’s what I’m going to be expecting.”
Brown said he also believed the Buffalo attack “is going to be a turning point” in the national conversation.
“So I’d like to see real, deliberate action taken on gun control, on ending hate speech on the internet,” Brown concluded. “I will be a stronger voice for that.”
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Nick Veronica is a Buffalo native who joined the News 4 team as a Digital Executive Producer in 2021. He previously worked at NBC Sports and The Buffalo News. You can follow Nick on Facebook and Twitter and find more of his work here.