New York lawmakers voted Monday to require storing guns in a locked container or with a gun lock in homes with children under 16.
The storage or locking requirement would apply to guns that are out of the owner’s “immediate possession or control.”
There’s an exception for a rifle or shotgun when the young person in the house has a New York hunting license or permit.
Violations of the measure, expected to be signed into law by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, would be misdemeanors.
The Assembly voted 85-43 to pass it. The Senate voted 37-22.
Such storage already is required in New York residences by firearm owners where another resident is legally prohibited from having a gun because of a felony conviction. The legislation adds to that residences where someone is barred from gun ownership by a court finding under a recently signed state law that he or she poses an “extreme risk.”
Sponsors the bills, supported by most of the Assembly and Senate’s majority Democrats, said it’s intended to reduce suicides and accidental shootings.
A 2018 study found 4.6 million U.S. children live in homes with at least one loaded and unlocked firearm, according to Sen. Liz Krueger, a Manhattan Democrat. Another found 43 percent of gun-owning homes with children kept a weapon without a trigger lock in an unlocked place, she said.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control reported that from 2004 to 2016, more than 6,000 minors intentionally shot themselves, most using guns owned by someone in their home, Krueger said. “The majority of those killed were 12 or younger.”
Several Republican lawmakers criticized the bill in both houses, calling it an infringement on the constitutional right of people to defend themselves in their own homes, especially those living in rural areas. They said it would slow down a homeowner responding with his or her gun to a threat.
“The Second Amendment is about self-defense of your person and property,” said Sen. Robert Ortt, a Tonawanda Republican. “This bill I think quite clearly impedes on somebody’s ability to act in their own self-defense and use a firearm for that purpose.”