The recent theft of a loaded semi-automatic firearm from a vehicle in Buffalo points out a weakness in New York State gun-safety legislation.
At present, there is no provision in New York State law that requires guns left in vehicles to be safely locked and stored. That must be remedied. State law should require the safe storage of guns left in vehicles not occupied by the gun owner or a valid licensee.
The handgun that was stolen, allegedly from a locked vehicle, was loaded with an extended magazine capable of holding 10 rounds. There is now another deadly weapon on our streets in the possession of someone who has already demonstrated criminal behavior.
Nobody is proposing that individuals cannot be armed for self-defense, rather we are proposing that when individuals, for whatever reason, determine to leave a gun in an unattended vehicle that the gun be safely stored in a locked gun-safe and that the ammunition be stored separately.
Guns are stolen in the United States about once every minute; it is estimated that as many as 600,000 guns are stolen every year and theft from vehicles is on the rise. Gun owners who leave their firearms unsecured, in homes or in cars, make it that much easier for them to be stolen; guns that are then used in crime or sold on the black market for eventual criminal use.
It is time for New York State to enact sensible gun-storage safety laws. New Yorkers Against Gun Violence has been supporting safe storage laws in the state legislature for years. This legislation has previously passed in the Assembly but never received a vote in the Senate. Perhaps this year the legislature will act to make safe-storage of guns a reality.
With rights come responsibilities and one of those responsibilities should be keeping guns from those who should not have them.