Council member Cathy Fahey sponsored the Albany safe storage law.

Council member Cathy Fahey, bill sponsor.

Albany is the latest municipality to pass a safe storage law, with its Common Council approving the measure by a 14-1 vote on September 2.

NYAGV had advocated for the law and was on hand for the Council’s vote.

The law, designed to prevent unintentional shootings, suicides, homicides and gun thefts, 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 or her immediate possession or control. In addition, the law requires retailers selling firearms to post a notice that notifies buyers about the safe storage law and the penalties incurred if the law is violated.

Leah Gunn Barrett, NYAGV Executive Director said, “With tonight’s vote, Albany joins New York City, Rochester, Buffalo and Westchester County, where firearm safe storage is the law. Safe storage laws have been shown to protect children and other individuals who should not have access to firearms. Importantly, this law will help prevent the theft of guns that end up on our streets. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms estimates that at least half a million guns are stolen each year. In the City of Albany alone, 93 firearms have been stolen from homes and vehicles over the past five years.”

Barrett continued, “This bill is all about gun owner responsibility. Gun owners will face sanctions if they act irresponsibly and leave their guns unlocked and accessible to children and criminals.”

Council member Catherine Fahey, the bill’s sponsor, said, “It is common sense to keep firearms locked up to prevent accidents and injuries, and this legislation goes one important step further by holding adults responsible when firearms are not stored safely. This law sets a standard for us all, and if the loss of even one life is prevented, we have made a difference.”

On the state level, in June the New York State Assembly passed Nicholas’s Law requiring safe storage, but the Senate failed to vote on the measure. The bill is named for 12-year-old Nicholas Naumkin who was fatally shot in 2010 by his friend who found his father’s unlocked and loaded handgun. Oxsana Naumkin, Nicholas’s mother, called on the New York State Senate to follow Albany’s example and pass a safe storage law in the next legislative session.

Read NYAGV’s full statement about the Albany vote here. 

Find our how you can take action to help pass Nicholas’s Law, a state-wide safe storage measure.