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Editorial: Finally. Gun storage bill approved

Editorial: Finally. Gun storage bill approved

Storage law for weapons in homes with children doesn't deprive gun owners of rights
Editorial: Finally. Gun storage bill approved
Photographer: Shutterstock

Too many news stories begin like this one:

Police: Boy killed by friend playing with gun
What police describe as an accidental shooting claimed the life of a 12-year-old Wilton boy Wednesday night, just three days before Christmas.
Nicholas Naumkin, a seventh-grader at Maple Avenue Middle School, was visiting a friend and fellow Maple Avenue student at the friend’s home on Birchwood Drive in Wilton.
The boys had taken a handgun owned by the friend’s father from another room and were handling it when it fired, striking Nicholas in the head, police said. ... He died late Wednesday night at the hospital with his parents at his side ...

It’s now been more than eight years since that tragedy, the week of Christmas 2010. More than eight years in which hundreds of innocent children have been put in danger by unsecured guns in homes, in part because state lawmakers didn’t muster the courage to do something about it.

Each year, an average of 210 children in New York under age 20 are treated at local emergency rooms due to unintentional gun injuries, and each year, an average of two children die because of it.

Yet here we are in 2019, the same year Nicholas Naumkin would have turned 21, and we’re still debating reasonable gun storage laws in this state. It’s ridiculous.

Lawmakers on Monday finally took action by passing a bill (A2686/S2450), in Naumkin’s honor that will require that any gun owner who resides with someone under the age of 16 to securely lock rifles, shotguns or firearms in an “appropriate safe storage depository or render the weapon incapable of being fired by use of a gun-locking device.”

Now here’s an important part for the pro-gun people who might be flipping out right about now: The law applies only to weapons not under the owner’s “immediate possession or control.”

Read that part again. This law will not deprive anyone of their ability to defend their home and family against an intruder. It will not prevent a single hunter from enjoying the sport.

But it will make it less likely that a child or a suicidal person in the home will have easy access to a loaded gun and potentially kill themselves or someone else.

A properly secured gun would have prevented 12-year-old Nicholas Naumkin’s childhood friend from killing him, and it would have stopped other senseless tragedies that have occurred since then.

You can have your guns, as long as they’re under your immediate control. 

You just can’t leave them around the house unsecured for some child to find. Is that really too much of a burden to bear? 

This legislation is eight years overdue for Nicholas Naumkin. But maybe it will prevent the next tragedy.

Pray that it will.

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