New York Safe Storage Law
What it means for gun owners living with children
ALBANY – Gun owners in New York will soon be guilty of a crime if they don’t lock up their firearms while living in a home with someone under the age of 16.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed the “safe storage” bill into law Tuesday, expanding the state’s existing lock-up rules in hopes of making it more difficult for children to get access to guns.
Cuomo also signed a measure Tuesday prohibiting the manufacturing, sale and possession of guns that are not picked up by metal detectors, a measure meant to outlaw 3D-printed guns.
Starting Sept. 28, gun owners living with a child could face a Class A misdemeanor charge if they don’t use a gun-locking device or lock their firearms in a cabinet or safe while the gun is out of their immediate possession.
The charge carries a penalty of up to one year in prison or three years probation and a fine of up to $1,000.
If a gun isn’t locked up while a child is visiting or could otherwise gain access, the owner would face a violation with a fine of up to $250.
Assemblywoman Amy Paulin, D-Scarsdale, Westchester County, said the bill, which she sponsored, was inspired by a number of child deaths related to unlocked guns in homes.
That includes the 2010 death of 12-year old Nicholas Naumkin, who was accidentally shot by a friend who was playing with his father’s gun in a Saratoga County home.
“Given everything we know about the effect a gun in the home can have on our children’s health and safety, and the many tragic stories when a firearm was left unattended by an adult, this law is absolutely necessary for keeping our kids safe,” Paulin said in a statement.
The 2013 SAFE Act required gun owners to lock up their firearms in their homes only if living with someone who was legally prohibited from possessing a firearm, such as those convicted of felonies or domestic-violence crimes or who are otherwise subject to an order of protection.
The new law, which takes effect Sept. 28, expands it to include anyone living with (or reasonably expecting a visit from) someone under the age of 16.
It applies when the gun is outside of the owners direct control. There are exceptions for those under the age of 16 who are being supervised and hold a hunting license or are participating in a marksmanship program, which were approved in a separate bill.
The law doesn’t supersede any local laws that may carry additional storage requirements.