Push for tougher gun storage laws this year

Posted at 7:16 PM, Feb 08, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-08 19:16:28-05

Anti-violence groups in Buffalo are now pushing to see "Nicholas's Law" passed in the New York State Legislature.  The law would mandate stricter requirements for storing firearms in residences - especially in homes where there are children.

The law is named for Nicholas Naumkin, a 12-year-old Saratoga Springs middle school student, who was shot and killed by a friend who was playing with his father's gun in 2010.

Advocates for the law say it is urgent because of the opioid epidemic.

"Their kids get strung out on drugs so they take the weapons because they have easy access to them," said Pastor James Giles from VOICE-Buffalo.

Pastor Giles said the stolen guns are increasingly showing up on Buffalo city streets where they are traded or sold for drugs and then used for crimes.

Suicide among children is another concern.

"We have children 14, 15, 16-years-old who are finding guns in their parent's home, and to be honest with you, they know where these guns are in their parent's home.  They are using those guns to take their own lives because they had a breakup at school or any number of miscellaneous reasons," said Paul McQuillen from New Yorkers Against Gun Violence.

Gun owners who talked with 7 Eyewitness News realize there is a responsibility for safe storage but many felt a new law would not help.

"No law is going to make a person be smart about what they do," said Jeffery Brodsky, a former police officer and general manager of the Buffalo Niagara Gun range.

Brodsky said he would like to see more education in schools about gun safety.  He also said gun owners should consider more secure ways of storing their guns - such as using gun safes that bolt to the floor.

"Nicholas's Law" has already passed in the NYS Assembly twice but has not come up for a vote in the NYS Senate where it remains in committee.

7 Eyewitness News Reporter Ed Reilly has more in his reports.