Assembly passes legislation to require safe storage of guns

Staff Reports Posted 5 March 2019 at 8:03 am

The State Assembly passed legislation on Monday to expand current requirements that guns are kept in safe storage repositories, especially in households with children.

“Today’s bill is another important step in preventing gun violence,” Speaker Carl Heastie said in a news release on Monday. “Earlier this year we passed a package of legislation that addressed some of the root causes of gun violence. I am proud of our continued work with our Senate colleagues to ensure New York has the strongest and safest possible gun laws, and help keep our kids safe in our homes and in our communities.”

Under current law, safe storage of guns is only required if a person living in the household is federally prohibited from owning a gun, but not if there are children in the house, Heastie said.

The legislation on Monday would require that, in households with children and individuals prohibited from possessing a gun by federal or state law, all guns are safely stored when not in possession of the gun owner.

In homes with children, failure to safely store guns would be a class A misdemeanor. Individuals would also be required to safely store their guns when children are present in their homes, even if the children do not reside there. The bill would also require licensing officers to provide notice about safe storage of firearms. In addition, people, firms or businesses who sell firearms, rifles or shotguns would be required to conspicuously post notification of safe storage laws where guns are displayed or transferred to the buyer.

State Senator Rob Ortt (R-North Tonawanda) said the Assembly legislation violates the Constitution.

“Not only is today’s firearm storage legislation irresponsible, but it is also impractical and unnecessary,” Ortt said in a statement on Monday. “The passage of this legislation further highlights the utter disdain New York City regressives hold against the legal gun owners of our state and illustrates their ignorance regarding Second Amendment protections. By requiring firearms to be stored and locked away in safes, lawmakers are infringing on the fundamental American right of self-protection, and they are doing so in a manner that has already been ruled unconstitutional in D.C. v Heller. Either Democrats have no idea how firearms work or they are solely resolved to make them cost-prohibitive and inaccessible to American citizens.”

State Assemblyman Steve Hawley said the legislation is “another assault on our 2nd Amendment rights.” He said the Safe Storage Bill makes “law-abiding citizens criminals.”

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