Days after a 16-year-old was arrested for allegedly shooting a security guard at a high school football game in Utica, two New York state lawmakers say they plan to introduce legislation that includes increasing penalties for people under 18 to illegally possess a gun and make it easier for them to be tried in criminal court.
Republican state Sen. Joe Griffo, of Rome, and Democratic Assemblywoman Buttenschon, of Marcy, said the bill would also allow judges to use mental health evaluations during a pre-trial detention hearing and allow them to issue a secure order if a defendent is determined not to have strong ties to the area.
The lawmakers are also calling for changes to the existing Raise the Age law that include the unsealing of certain criminal records and change in what circumstances a child can be charged with illegally possessing a weapon.
A security guard was shot in the head Saturday during a Proctor High School football game while he attempted to break up a fight, according to police. The Oneida County District Attorney's Office and the Utica Police Department said a 16-year-old suspect turned himself in.
District Attorney Scott McNamara said he plans to prosecute the teen as an adult. The teen has been charged with attempted second-degree murder and criminal possession of a weapon, among other charges.
“Enough is enough. We need changes that will enhance public safety, make our schools more secure and protect New Yorkers," Griffo said. "This legislation will ensure that there are significant consequences for those who choose to undertake such heinous, senseless and horrific acts of violence.”
“What began as an afternoon of high school football, ended in a horrific shooting of a brave high school security officer that was trying to protect those leaving the game at Proctor High School on Saturday,” Buttenschon said. “I am outraged by the use of illegal guns and in this case on school property. I proposed legislation that will hold those that possess an illegal firearm accountable. This will be accomplished with tougher legislation, resources for our first responders, and further resources for mental health. In addition, future legislation to increase consequences for those that commit these horrific acts on or around school property and public parks.”