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Sen. Gillibrand hopes lawmakers "take control of this issue" and act on gun safety measures

 An 18-year-old gunman killed 19 children and two adults at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde on Tuesday.
Patricia Lim
An 18-year-old gunman killed 19 children and two adults at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde on Tuesday.

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand is hoping Congress can find common ground on gun reform legislation in light of yet another mass shooting, this time at a Texas elementary school. 19 students and 2 adults were killed. It comes just over a week after a man opened fire and killed 10 Black people at a Buffalo supermarket. Gillibrand says she’s heard from New Yorkers who are horrified and heartbroken.

"The level of death and violence we've seen over the last several years is just unconscionable. The US is not an outlier when it comes to mental health issues. Where we are the outlier is we have such easy access to weapons. We have to take control of this issue. I don't think there's any legitimate argument that this is not a time to act."

For example, she hopes there’s movement on a universal background checks bill, a ban on military style assault weapons, and an anti-gun trafficking bill.

"I would welcome any debate by republicans and democrats about finding common ground on these bills. I think the one that's most likely to be most bi-partisan is the anti-trafficking bill. But again, in light of all this terror and domestic terrorism rise, there might be maybe new people who would get involved in these pieces of legislation that weren't there before."

There’s also discussion by some states, including New York, to increase the age to buy a gun, especially assault style weapons. Governor Kathy Hochul said this at Wednesday's meeting of the Interstate Task Force on Illegal Guns.

"How does an AR-15 in the state of New York, state of Texas? That person is 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."

Because, she says, there are common denominators between the Buffalo and Texas massacres.

"The weapon was an AR-15. The perpetrator was a male. And the age of the perpetrator was 18," said Hochul.

Meanwhile, Senator Gillibrand also outlined a plan that more specifically targets domestic terrorism and extremism. The Domestic Terrorism Prevention Act will come up for a vote Thursday. She says it would create offices within the FBI, Department of Justice, and Department of Homeland Security to monitor, analyze, investigate, and prosecute domestic terrorism. Gillibrand also sent a letter urging the FBI to make the threat of extremists a top priority. And, she's pushing her Data Protection Act to hold social media platforms more accountable for monetizing hate and pushing dangerous extremist content into people’s feeds.

Scott Willis covers politics, local government, transportation, and arts and culture for WAER. He came to Syracuse from Detroit in 2001, where he began his career in radio as an intern and freelance reporter. Scott is honored and privileged to bring the day’s news and in-depth feature reporting to WAER’s dedicated and generous listeners. You can find him on twitter @swillisWAER and email him at