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A gun law that embraces common sense

March 8, 2019 12:43 am

Gun control foes gripe about stricter regulations and then demand “common-sense” laws, which usually means anything from arming teachers in the classroom to blaming mental illness for all the gun violence in the United States.

So here’s a proposed law that to us defines common sense. State lawmakers passed legislation Monday to expand requirements for storing guns in certain households. The illogical current law requires firearms to be stored securely in homes where the occupant is prohibited under federal law from owning a gun, but does not apply to households with children.

If signed into law by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, the new legislation will require safe gun storage in households with children under the age of 16 and individuals prohibited from gun ownership under state or federal law, such as convicted felons, when the weapon is not in the owner’s possession. Safe storage is defined as the use of a gun-locking device or a safe.

The law applies when children are present in the home, even if they do not live there. Gun owners younger than 16 who have a hunting license or permit would be excluded from the law. The bill also requires licensing officers to inform applicants about safe storage of firearms. Sellers of firearms, rifles or shotguns would be required to post notification of the safe storage laws where guns are displayed or sold.

The law would apply to all firearms, including shotguns, rifles and handguns. Failure to safely store firearms will be a class A misdemeanor.

Today, courts order steering-wheel locks to be installed to deny convicted drunken drivers access to automobiles. Warning labels are posted on everything from cigarettes (smoking may be hazardous to your health) to beer and wine containers (drink responsibly).

The proposed new law subtly shifts gun control from the political arena to a public health issue. “States with more permissive gun laws and greater gun ownership had higher rates of mass shootings, and a growing divide appears to be emerging between restrictive and permissive states,” according to a study released Wednesday by BMJ (British Medical Journal), an international peer reviewed medical journal.

Guns certainly are hazardous to the health of millions of Americans. And it hints at the responsibility of gun ownership. Foes of gun control argue vigorously that it will discriminate against responsible gun owners. This law will see that gun owners “drink responsibly” — in other words, if they want to own guns, be careful with them.

The proposed law doesn’t want to take guns away from anyone. The law wants law-abiding citizens to keep their guns. Yes, keep them in a safe and secure place.