NEWS: Stricter Gun Storage Laws Hit NY

Gun owners in New York with children in their homes have 60 days to comply with stricter new gun storage requirements or face the potential of a misdemeanor charge.

In order to comply with the requirement, which was signed into law this week by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, New Yorkers living with a child under the age of 16 need to have a locking device for their firearm or store it in a locked container.

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A conviction for violating the new requirement could result in a maximum penalty of up to a year in jail and a $1,000 fine. Guns must also be secured when a child is visiting a home, or a gun owner could face a $250 fine.

The scope of the measure was narrowed in June to address concerns from the governor’s office, according to legislative sources. The amendments added exceptions to ensure younger New Yorkers would still have supervised access to firearms.

Cuomo also approved legislation Tuesday designed to prevent so-called untraceable guns from becoming readily available in New York.

“These measures continue New York’s legacy of enacting the strongest gun laws in the nation by helping keep firearms out of the hands of children and by acknowledging and addressing technological advancements like 3D printed guns,” Cuomo said in a statement.

New York already requires secure storage of a weapon in homes where there is a resident that is prohibited from owning a gun, such as a convicted felon or someone subject to a protective order. Gun owners in certain municipalities across the state, including Albany, have also been subject to local safe-storage requirements.

The restriction does not include an exemption for off-duty law enforcement officers.

The storage legislation initially imposed the new requirements on all gun owners, but that language was struck from the bill due to concerns from state legislators. The controversial measure was passed largely along partisan lines, with Assembly Democrats Angelo Santabarbara and Carrie Woerner breaking ranks to vote against it.

New York State Rifle and Pistol Association President Tom King previously told the Times Union that the restriction is unlikely to pass constitutional muster. He said the U.S. Supreme Court has made clear that storage laws preventing timely access to firearms are invalid.

There is also a concern from gun owners that the storage requirements will make the weapons useless for home defense, since they might not be easily accessible.

The requirement can’t easily be enforced and any non-compliance may only be discovered if a firearm is misused and results in a police response. But sponsors of the legislation hope it encourages gun owners to safely store their guns.

The legislation was inspired by a 2010 tragedy in Saratoga County when 12-year-old Nicholas Naumkin was shot and killed by a friend playing with his father’s gun. The father of Naumkin’s playmate pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor count of child endangerment.

Sen. Liz Krueger, a Manhattan Democrat who sponsored the storage bill, believes tragedies such as the slaying of Naumkin are preventable.

“It’s simply common sense that young children should not have unsupervised access to dangerous weapons, and no responsible gun owner would disagree,” Krueger said in a statement.

Critics of the new law dealing with guns manufactured through 3-D printing note that federal law already prohibits undetectable plastic guns, and maintain that criminals have easier means of procuring a weapon than producing one on a 3-D printer that costs thousands of dollars.

On Monday, Cuomo had signed bills banning devices that increase the firing capacity of semi-automatic weapons and establishing a 30-day waiting period to purchase a firearm while background checks are completed.

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Not surprised. It’s what progressives do. They progressively strip your rights away .

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