Safe storage of firearms touted
A number of organizations concerned with gun violence, as well as the laws that govern gun ownership and use, lined the Walkway Over Hudson Saturday morning for the fourth annual “Walk for Gun Sense.”
An estimated 500 individuals — on their own and from sponsoring organizations such as New Yorkers Against Gun Violence, Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense, Million Mom March, Stop the Violence and the Brady Campaign — turned out to promote responsible gun ownership and use.
A number of people who had been directly affected by gun violence, memorialized friends, loved ones and children who had been lost due to what participating organizations consider to be lax gun policies.
Barbara Keenlyside, the spokeswoman for the Hudson Valley chapter of New Yorkers Against Gun Violence, said the issue of gun policy in New York is one of morality, rather than politics.
“I think it’s a moral question of our times really, that our country has developed into such a guncrazy culture,” said Keenlyside. “We all talk about it when there’s a huge event like Orlando, or Sandy Hook; everyone gets upset and we’re all appalled and dismayed, but that goes away unless we do something. We can’t just talk about it anymore, we have to do something about it,” she said.
New Yorkers Against Gun Violence took the opportunity of the event to promote what they say is a priority — the safe storage of guns in the home.
Although the participating organizations supported enforcement of background checks for gun purchase, limiting the ability for misdemeanor domestic violence offenders to own guns and possible limitations on disturbed, or mentally ill individuals, from possessing guns for a temporary period, all of the organizations agreed that keeping guns safely stored from children who could misuse is a priority.
Currently, a law promoting “safe storage” called Nicholas’ Law, has passed in Westchester County and is now being discussed in other Hudson Valley municipalities, said Sarah Kocloff, coordinator of the Dutchess County chapter of New Yorkers Against Gun Violence.
The legislation is named for Nicholas Naumkin, a 12-year-old of Saratoga Springs, N.Y., who died in December 2010 after being shot by a friend who was playing with his father’s unlocked gun.
“We have been working in Beacon, New York and in Philipstown, to bring forth laws on safe storage, which is requiring guns within the household, not under someone’s direct control, to be locked. This is to protect children who find them with amaz-
ing frequency and to protect the public in case these guns are stolen,” said Kocloff. “So, safe storage is New Yorkers Against Gun Violence’s top priority.”
She acknowledged that some gun rights advocates consider the
legislation an attack on their Second Amendment rights, but said New Yorkers Against Gun Violence are not looking to take guns away from responsible owners.
“It’s not true,” said Kocloff. “All of these organizations are more focused on common sense legislation around the edges of perfectly legal gun ownership.”