New York – Today the State Senate Codes Committee voted down the Children’s Weapon Accident Prevention Act (S.2491), sponsored by Senator Liz Krueger, along with Senators Avella, Gianaris, Hamilton, Hoylman and Parker. The bill would have protected children from accidental harm and death by making it a crime to fail to store a firearm safely and securely.
“The failure of this committee to move this common-sense, rational gun-safety bill is deplorable,” said Senator Liz Krueger. “We should all be able to agree that allowing young children to have unsupervised access to loaded weapons is not something a responsible gun owner would ever do. These tragic deaths leave a gaping hole in the hearts of parents, family, friends and communities, and every single one of them is preventable. Today we failed to take a responsible step to protect New York’s children.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control, from 2005-2010, almost 3,800 people were killed in unintentional shootings, including over 1,300 young people under age 25. Although data is incomplete, an analysis by Everytown for Gun Safety found that from December 2010 to December 2013, at least 100 children were killed in accidental shootings. 84% of these deaths occurred in the home of a family member or friend of the victim, and most of the guns were legally owned but not secured. The analysis further reveals that 70% of these deaths could have been prevented if gun owners had stored their weapons safely and responsibly.
Twenty-eight states and Washington, DC, have various laws holding gun owners responsible for failure to properly secure a firearm. In 2000, legislation was enacted in New York to require the purchase of a safety lock with the purchase or transfer of a gun, but there is currently no requirement to use the device or safely store the gun.
“The Republican-controlled Codes Committee has let down New Yorkers by failing to pass the Children’s Weapon Accident Prevention Act today,” said Senator Jesse Hamilton. “Everyone who believes in gun safety should support this bill. Too many wholly preventable accidents occur due to unsecure firearms. Underscoring the importance of safe firearms storage and weapons safety education, this bill takes positive steps to advance the culture of responsible firearms ownership New York needs.”
Senator Brad Hoylman said, “It’s critical that we prevent our kids from having unsupervised access to guns and I’m very disappointed the Senate Codes Committee failed to pass Senator Krueger’s commonsense bill today. New York lags behind twenty-eight states and the District of Columbia that already have laws holding gun owners responsible for securing their firearms and it’s time we protected New York kids as well.”
Senator Kevin Parker noted that “it is a commentary on our society that ‘firearm-related deaths continue as 1 of the top 3 causes of death in American youth.’ Gun related injuries leave traumatic physical and mental scars on the child who has held the gun as well as on the victim. For lack of a properly secured weapon a child’s future is irrevocably altered, a life ceases – a family is dismembered in an unalterable way with a wound that cannot heal.”
Some recent preventable tragedies include:
–April, 2015, Cleveland, OH: A 3-year-old boy shot and killed a 1-year-old.
–March, 2015, Houston, TX: A 5-year-old boy shot and critically wounded his 6-year-old brother, the day after a 4-year-old shot and killed himself. Just two days prior to that, another 3-year-old died after shooting himself in the head.
–February, 2015, Albuquerque, NM: A 3-year-old boy shot his father and pregnant mother.
–January, 2015, Elmo, MO: A 5-year-old boy shot and killed his 9-month-old brother with a .22-caliber Magnum revolver belonging to a relative.
–December, 2014, Hayden, ID: A 3-year-old boy shot and killed his mother after grabbing a gun in her purse.
–August, 2014, Atlanta, GA: A 3-year-old boy was critically injured after shooting himself in the face.
–August, 2014, Pueblo, NM: A 3-year-old girl was critically injured after being shot by a 5-year-old with a gun that belonged to her mother’s boyfriend.
–May, 2014, Milwaukee, WI: A 3-year-old boy was critically injured after shooting himself in the head with a gun he found in the glove compartment of his mother’s car.
–May, 2014, Summerville, SC: A 4-year-old boy was critically injured after shooting himself with a gun he found at his grandparents’ house.
–April, 2014, Philadelphia, PA: A 2-year-old boy shot and killed his 11-year-old sister with a .357 caliber handgun with an 8-inch barrel. Their mother was only feet away in another room.
–March, 2014, Nuevo, CA: A 5-year-old boy shot and killed himself with a gun found in his home.
–January, 2014, Detroit, MI: A 4-year-old girl fatally shot her 4-year-old cousin in the chest with a gun she found in her grandparents’ home.
–April, 2013, Toms River, NJ: A 4-year-old shot and killed his 6-year-old friend with a .22 caliber rifle he found in his parents’ bedroom.