Saratoga County

Saratoga Springs approves law requiring safeguarding of guns in homes

The City Council on Tuesday unanimously adopted a new local law designed to keep guns out of the han

The City Council on Tuesday unanimously adopted a new local law designed to keep guns out of the hands of children.

The law, called “Nicholas’ Law,” is named after 12-year-old Nicholas Naumkin of Wilton. In December, 2010, Nicholas died in Wilton after being shot by a friend who was playing with his father’s gun, which was hidden, but not in a locked location.

The new law, which has been proposed at the state level but not adopted, requires that guns be kept in a locked storage or have a safety lock on them if they are potentially accessible to children under age 18, except when under direct adult supervision.

“I agree it should be a statewide law,” said city Public Safety Commissioner Chris Mathiesen, who proposed the local law. “But Saratoga Springs should enact it.”

Nicholas’ mother, Oksana Naumkin, was among those who spoke at a public hearing before the council voted.

“I think it’s very important that we prevent this from happening again,” she said. “I cannot tell you how painful it is to live after you have lost a child.”

Nobody spoke against the proposal at the public hearing. Violators could face fines.

“Let’s hope it saves lives in the future,” said Mayor Joanne Yepsen.

New Yorkers Against Gun Violence said Saratoga Springs is the sixth local government to adopt the law, following Albany, Rochester, Buffalo, Westchester County and New York City.

The statewide measure, which would make violations a felony if the unlocked gun is used to kill or injure a child, was approved in 2015 by the state Assembly. The Senate, however has been reluctant. The Senate Codes Committee voted the bill down on March 28.

New Yorkers Against Gun Violence estimates that one-third of all homes with children under age 18 have firearms in the household.

Reach Gazette reporter Stephen Williams at 395-3086, [email protected] or @gazettesteve on Twitter.

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