LOUDONVILLE, N.Y. (WTEN) – Over 75% of New Yorkers think that a new law requiring a permit to get a semi-automatic rifle will be good for the state, according to a Siena College poll released Thursday. In the poll, nearly 80% of respondents said they want to see the Supreme Court uphold New York State’s decades-old law requiring a license to carry a concealed handgun as well.
Discussions surrounding gun control have become a hot topic across the state, in light of the Buffalo mass shooting that killed 10. After an 18-year-old used a semi-automatic rifle to carry out the massacre, New York’s legislature voted to ban anyone under age 21 from buying or possessing the guns. The legislation will go into effect this September, with the resounding support of three-quarters of New Yorkers, according to the poll.
Senator Kevin Thomas (D) of New York State’s Sixth District sponsored the legislation, mentioning that, “it’s the same that we have with the pistol permit.” The Supreme Court is expected to rule in the coming days or weeks in a pending dispute over New York State’s pistol permit law, and it is likely to be invalidated. Voters in the new Siena College Poll, by a 79-15% margin, want to see the law upheld, though.
“More than three-quarters of voters want the Supreme Court to uphold New York’s decades-old law requiring a license to carry a concealed handgun, including 72% of gun owners and 79% of Republicans (even more than the 77% of independents),” said Siena College pollster Steven Greenberg. “By a smaller, 58-24% margin, voters say outlawing body or armored vests except for law enforcement will be good for the state. Two-thirds of Democrats support the ban, as do 53% of independents, 50% of Republicans, and 54% of gun owners.”
The debate over body or armored vests comes, too, after the Buffalo tragedy. When the gunman attacked the Buffalo supermarket, the security guard tried to stop him. His efforts were thwarted, though, because the shooter was wearing full body armor.
All of these issues were addressed in new legislation signed into law by Governor Kathy Hochul on Monday, June 6. “In New York, we are taking bold, strong action,” said Hochul. “We are tightening the red flag laws to keep guns away from dangerous people. And we are raising the age of semi-automatic weapons so no 18-year-old can walk in on their birthday and walk out with an AR-15. Those days are over. Those days are over!”
Amid her quick action and implementation of the laws, Governor Hochul’s favorability rating has risen to 46-37%, up from 44-34% in April, according to the poll. “While Hochul’s favorability rating has remained largely consistent throughout the year – between 44% and 46% of voters have viewed her favorably every month – her job performance and re-elect ratings both dipped in April and have both bounced back this month to about where they were in March,” Greenberg said.
The gun control packages came in response to increased crime across New York State, too. 92% of voters in the recent Siena poll said crime is a serious issue across the state- with a whopping 63% saying it is a very serious problem. “Crime continues to be an overriding issue for New Yorkers. At least 90% of voters from every party, region, and race say crime is a serious problem in the state, with at least 57% saying it’s a very serious problem, including 79% of Black voters who say it’s a very serious problem,” Greenberg said.
New Yorkers said crime was a problem in February, and they still see it as a problem in June. A majority of voters from every region, race, party, and gender say they are concerned they could be a victim of crime. Notably, nearly three-quarters of Black and New York City voters are concerned about becoming a victim.
Aside from gun laws and violence, another hot national topic is abortion rights. In New York State, voters strongly support enhanced protection for those seeking the procedure. 63% of voters say the recently-passed laws expanding the rights of those seeking or performing abortions in New York will be good for the state.
Similarly, 60% of New Yorkers want the Supreme Court to uphold Roe v. Wade, while just 24% want to see the ruling overturned. Nearly three-quarters of Democrats and a strong majority of independents want Roe upheld, while Republicans are closely divided, 41-39%, leaning toward supporting Roe.
Supporters of the Supreme Court ruling have been loud in Albany ever since a leaked draft opinion signaled its potential demise. A rally at West Capitol Park, organized by Upper Hudson Planned Parenthood, was the first of many on May 3. Governor Kathy Hochul and newly-appointed Lieutenant Governor Antonio Delgado were at that rally.
On the Supreme Court draft ruling, Hochul said, “I am horrified by the apparent draft Supreme Court opinion leaked this evening that would overturn the right to abortion guaranteed by Roe v. Wade. For the sake of women across the country, this should not be the Supreme Court’s final opinion when it comes to abortion rights.”