Lawmakers in New York are looking to bolster requirements that gun owners store their weapons safely.
The state legislature in early March passed legislation that would require gun owners to take certain steps to safely store their weapons. That includes locking the gun in an “appropriate safe storage depository” when it’s not in the person’s possession or using a gun locking device that renders the weapon incapable of being fired.
The measure, which now goes to Governor Andrew Cuomo’s desk for possible signature, would make failure to abide by the new requirements a misdemeanor, with varying potential penalties. Gun owners who have children under the age of 16 on the property that fail to properly store their weapons are looking at up to one year in jail, three years of probation and $1,000 in fines. Those who don’t have children in the home face a $250 fine.
“Our primary responsibility as legislators is to keep New York families safe,” Senator Liz Krueger, the bill’s sponsor, said after the legislation was passed in the state Senate. “It’s simply common sense that young children should not have unsupervised access to dangerous weapons, and no responsible gun owner would disagree.”
It’s not immediately clear whether Cuomo plans to sign the measure into law. The governor in February signed a new gun control law designed to keep weapons out of the hands of people with mental disorders. The Red Flag Law allows police officers, prosecutors, family or household members, school administrators and others to petition a court to ban a person from buying or owning a gun.
The state Senate in January passed a package of other gun reform laws. That includes measures that would extend background check times, ban “bump stocks” that make it easier to fire large quantities of rounds quickly, block schools from arming teachers, enhance gun buyback programs and give regulators access to out-of-state weapons buyers’ mental health records.
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New York has some of the toughest gun laws in the country. They require anyone possessing a firearm to have a valid license and provide for enhanced penalties for a wide range of criminal offenses when the crime involves the use of a gun. That’s why it’s vital that anyone suspected of or charged with a gun crime in the Capital District see the advice of an experienced Albany criminal defense lawyer.
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