BUFFALO N.Y. (WIVB) — New York State tightened its gun laws this month to combat crime across the region, but some argue that one law, barring sales of bullet-resistant vests, doesn’t do enough.
“I do not think that a bad person is going to see the existence of this law and say ‘well, since I can’t legally wear a vest to go commit a murder, then I’ll probably not do it,'” said Jeff Rinaldo, who’s a former Buffalo police captain. “I think it’ll have no effect, I think it was short-sighted.”
Earlier this month, Governor Kathy Hochul signed a package of gun reforms into law, including raising the legal age to buy semiautomatic rifles and requiring a license, and a ban on selling body armor.
“No longer will be allowed the sale of body vests and armor to those who don’t need it for work,” Governor Hochul said during a news conference on June 6th.
“We have one primary objective and that is to keep New Yorkers safe. It’s as simple as that. Our job is to keep New Yorkers safe,” she added.
Rinaldo says the state’s new law might not do much to stop criminals.
“I have never met a criminal that bothers to check any laws before they break the law,” he said.
The ban is on body vests, defined in state law as “a bullet-resistant soft body armor.” In the case of the May 14 shooting at Tops in Buffalo, the gunman wore steel-plated armor, which is not included in this law.
“Clearly it was knee-jerk legislation that was not consulted with people in law enforcement because again soft body armor versus plated armor are two different things. One is designed to stop and resist handgun rounds, the other is designed to stop rifle rounds,” Rinaldo said.
Rinaldo currently manages a security company and says the legislation could be confusing for people who need to wear body armor for work.
“I’m willing to presume that my industry, security guard industry will be allowed to wear vests, but who approves it, how long does it take to get that approved, who do we now purchase that equipment through?” He asked.
He believes local lawmakers need to take a different approach to preventing crime.
“We need to get in front of individuals that are showing signs of becoming a danger to society,” he said. “We also need to enforce gun laws in the state. The amount of illegal guns and the penalty that someone faces when arrested with a gun are literally laughable in the state.”
Congress is working on federal law to keep enhanced body armor out of the hands of mass shooters, they’re naming the measure in memory of Aaron Salter, who was one of the 10 people killed in the mass shooting at tops.
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