December 11, 2023

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Hochul: ‘Wild access’ to guns, sharing of hate online ‘a lethal combination’

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) on Sunday said “wild access to guns” and “unfettered sharing of hate information” online is “a lethal combination” one day after a gunman opened fire in her state, killing 10 people.

Hochul, during an interview with co-anchor Dana Bash on CNN’s “State of the Union,” said national laws are needed to curb gun access and the online sharing of hate information in the U.S.

“We are dealing with it on the gun side but also on the social media side and the combination of the wild access to guns, unfettered, we need national laws to deal with this, as well as the unfettered sharing of hate information on the internet, that is a lethal combination,” Hochul said. “We saw that on display here just hours ago yesterday.”

Thirteen people were shot on Saturday when a gunman opened fire at a Tops Friendly Market in Buffalo, New York. Eleven of the victims were Black.

Authorities are investigating the incident as a hate crime.

Hochul on Sunday said the gun used in the shooting was an AR-15 purchased legally in New York state, but noted that the high-capacity magazine used in the incident had to have been purchased in a different state. She said authorities do not know when it was purchased in Pennsylvania.

The suspected gunman, identified as 18-year-old Payton Gendron of Conklin, N.Y., who is white, allegedly broadcast the attack from a helmet camera on Twitch, a live streaming service. Twitch said the video was removed less than two minutes after the violence began.

He also allegedly wrote a manifesto that outlined ideas to assault Black individuals, according to NBC News.

The statement, which was posted to the online forum 4chan, reportedly pointed to the “Great Replacement” theory, which asserts that a group is trying to substitute white people in the U.S. with non-white individuals by means of immigration, interracial marriage and violence, the network noted.

Hochul on Sunday said she is calling on the CEOs of social media companies “to examine their policies, and to be able to look me in the eye and tell me that everything is being done that they can to make sure that this information has not spread.”

“They have to be able to identify when information like this the second it hits the platform and needs to be taken down, because this is spreading like wildfire. These theories that result in the radicalization of a young person sitting in their house is deeply scary, and it’s something that has to be dealt with,” she added.