Letter: Gun Safety

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After a 10 year old brought a loaded handgun to school in Baldwin, Nassau County Legislature Minority Leader Kevan Abrahams (center) and Legislators Ellen Birnbaum and Debra Mulé rallied community leaders and gun-safety activists to urge Governor Andrew Cuomo to promptly sign into law a bill that requires the safe storage of firearms across the state.

Accolades must be made to the New York State Assembly and Senate for enacting the Safe Storage Ordinance last week.

Yet, it is disappointing that the Nassau County Legislature chose to ignore a similar bill, first proposed in 2016 by Nassau County Legislator Ellen Birnbaum.

Legislator Birnbaum initially filed the Nassau County Gun Storage Law in May 2016.
It was a very comprehensive bill, which would require gun owners to properly lock up their firearms to prevent both children and adults from accessing the firearm and causing harm to themselves or others.

Subsequently, Legislator Birnbaum organized a rally that was held in June 2018 in front of the legislative building. Several Nassau County representatives were present to emphatically verbalize their support of this bill, which included County Executive Laura Curran, District Attorney Madeline Singas and Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder.

In October 2018, Legislator Birnbaum filed a revised version, which focused on homes where minors are known to live or visit. This revised bill also incorporated feedback from law enforcement professionals and was followed by a letter sent to Presiding Officer Nicollelo, requesting a public hearing to be scheduled regarding this legislation.

While I am grateful that a version of the bill was enacted in the New York State Assembly and Senate, I want to thank Legislator Birnbaum, who initially recognized that it was important to support a simple gun safety measure here in Nassau County. Her hard work and energy must be acknowledged.

—Lois A. Schaffer

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