NYS Assembly Passes Nicholas’ Law, Amy Paulin’s Legislation Requiring Greater Gun Safety Measures

Assemblywoman Amy Paulin (D-88) is pleased to announce that A.53, also known as Nicholas’s Law, was passed Tuesday evening by the New York State Assembly. The legislation would require gun owners to store or lock their guns when not in their immediate possession or control in order to prevent accidental shootings, suicides and gun thefts.

The measure was named after 12-year-old Nicholas Naumkin, who was fatally shot in December 2010 at his friend’s home in Wilton, New York. Nicholas had been playing with his friend, who found his father’s unlocked and loaded handgun.

"While education about the dangers of unintended access to loaded firearms is critical to preventing accidental injuries and death of children, we must also impose sanctions to hold individuals responsible when they don't lock or store their guns when out of their possession,” Paulin said. “Nicholas's Law is reasonable and clear: if your gun is not on or near you, lock it up or put a lock on it. If you don't, you'll be held accountable with criminal penalties."

Safe storage laws exist in Rochester, Buffalo, Westchester County and New York City. Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear a case challenging San Francisco's 2007 safe storage law. Federal and state courts have continued to uphold safe storage laws.

“Safe storage laws protect children from unintentional shootings, depressed teenagers from committing suicide with a gun, and prevent guns from being brought to school or stolen, ending up on our streets,” New Yorkers Against Gun Violence Executive Director Leah Gunn Barrett said. “Safe storage is about gun owner responsibility. Locking up lethal weapons that are used in at least two unintentional shootings of minors each week in the U.S. is just common sense.”

The bill was sponsored in the New York State Senate (s.2291) by Jeff Klein (D-34).