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State Lawmakers pass ‘Nicholas’ Law’ to protect children from unsecured guns

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NEW YORK — On Monday state lawmakers today passed new legislation that would require gun owners to lock up their guns when not in their immediate possession.

Nicholas’s Law is named for twelve-year-old Nicholas Naumkin, who in December 2010 was fatally shot while playing with his friend who found his father’s unlocked and loaded handgun.

“I applaud the State Assembly’s vote today passing Nicholas’s Law, which will prevent future tragedies such as the one that devastated our family.” said Oksana Naumkin, Nicholas’s mother. “With today’s vote, we are a step closer to enacting a statewide law that will mean other families will not have to endure our ongoing pain. Now it is the Senate’s responsibility to act. We are not going away. We will continue to fight for Nicholas’s Law until it is the law of the State of New York.”

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 on Second Amendment grounds.

NRA board member Tom King said at an April press conference in Poughkeepsie that “it has always been the Rifle and Pistol Association’s policy to urge all of our members and all of the gun owners to provide a method of safe storage and there are many, many methods out there, biometric safes, combination safes, that can be accessed so that you can store your firearm and have it accessible almost immediately.”

Assemblymember Amy Paulin, the primary sponsor of the law, 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.”