Safe stor­age of firearms touted

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - FRONT PAGE - By Mid-Hud­son News Net­work

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.”

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