NYAGV joined Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan, Police Chief Brendan Cox and Albany Common Council member Cathy Fahey on January 14 to welcome in the City of Albany’s new firearm safe storage law. Albany is the fifth New York municipality to enact such a law, joining Rochester, Buffalo, Westchester County and New York City.
The new law, which took effect January 1, requires any person who owns or is custodian of a firearm to safely store it in a locked container or with a trigger lock when the firearm is out of his/her immediate possession or control. In addition, retailers selling firearms must post a notice that notifies purchasers of the safe storage law and the penalties incurred if the law is violated.
Leah Gunn Barrett, NYAGV Executive Director, said, “We are proud to stand with Albany’s leaders to welcome this new law, which will help reduce gun thefts, keep guns away from children, and reduce gun injuries and deaths.”
Safe Storage Laws Reduce Gun Deaths
Evidence shows that safe storage laws reduce gun deaths and injury by preventing unintentional shootings, suicides and homicides. Importantly, the law will also help prevent the theft of guns that end up on the streets. In the past five years, nearly 100 guns have been stolen from homes and motor vehicles in the City of Albany. Nationally, it is estimated that at least half a million firearms are stolen every year, representing an important source of crime guns.
Police Chief Cox stated, “By requiring guns to be safely locked or stored, this law will help prevent one of the scourges that makes all Americans less safe – guns that are stolen and end up in the illegal market and in the hands of criminals.” He added that gun locks are available free to the public at the two Albany police stations.
Mayor Sheehan said, “With this sensible law, we take one more step forward, protecting children, families and the larger community from unintentional gun violence and also creating a barrier to the illegal gun trade. This law makes Albany a leader in gun safety.”
NYAGV Advocating for a Statewide Safe Storage Law
NYAGV is advocating for a statewide safe storage bill, Nicholas’s Law, which passed the Assembly last June but was not taken up by the Senate. The bill was named for 12-year-old Nicholas Naumkin of Wilton, who was fatally shot while on a playdate in 2010 by a friend who had found his father’s unlocked and loaded handgun. Barrett added, “We encourage the State Legislature to follow Albany’s lead and enact Nicholas’s Law without delay to protect all New Yorkers before other lives are lost.”