Gov. Kathy Hochul called on Sunday for curtailing the spread of hate and white supremacy online in the wake of the mass shooting in Buffalo that killed 10 people and injured three.
“It’s spreading like a virus now,” she said on ABC’s “This Week.”
Police believe the alleged shooter was motivated in part by racist conspiracy theories like the “replacement” of white people by immigrants. Hochul on Sunday said she is worried that copycat crimes could occur as result of the alleged shooter livestreaming the massacre online.
It’s not clear what action the Hochul administration or state lawmakers may take in response as the legislative session winds down this month.
Earlier this year in her State of the State address, Hochul called for efforts to better scrutinize social media postings to identify potential hate crimes before they occur.
Hochul announced support for strengthening the State Police’s Social Media Analysis Unit to perform a daily review of publicly available social media activity. The proposal was focused on monitoring school violence threats, gang activity and illegal firearms that would be used to tie back to ongoing criminal investigations or launch new investigations while also communicating potential threats.
Hochul on ABC News indicated the alleged shooter Payton Gendron was not known to law enforcement.
In a separate interview on National Public Radio, Hochul said the weapon allegedly used in the shooting was purchased legally in New York, but the high-capacity magazine is barred under state law.
“We have some of the toughest laws in America on the books here, but the guns are coming in from other states,” Hochul said. “We need national laws to deal with this.”
Hochul has previously pushed for efforts to stem the flow of illegal guns into New York. She did not rule out considering ways of closing “loopholes” in New York’s gun laws.