In the wake of a heart-wrenching school shooting in Connecticut that left 20 first-graders dead, New York lawmakers acted swiftly to pass the toughest gun control measure in the nation.
Our New York City personal injury attorneys applaud the efforts to keep our children safer, though we worry that such actions may not be enough to fully prevent harm.
It's worth noting that parents and facilities that allow minors to handle firearms carelessly or recklessly may be held liable in civil court for their negligence. What the Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act does is expand criminal liability and penalties.
Among the provisions in the law:
- A ban on all possession of high-capacity magazines, no matter where they were manufactured or sold. No more than seven rounds may be loaded at any one time.
- A requirement for ammunition dealers to do background checks akin to those already required for firearm purchases. All ammunition sales must now be reported to to the state by dealers. While interstate ammunition sales are still legal, a licensed dealer must pick them up once they arrive in New York.
- Creation of an assault weapons registry. Those who already own such weapons will be required to report them as well.
- Mandating reporting to state authorities by any therapist who believes a mentally ill patient has made a credible threat of harm to others.
- Requirement that stolen gun reports be filed within 24 hours of the theft.
- Expanded state definition of assault weapon as a firearm with just one military rifle feature, instead of the two that were previously noted.
- Mandated background checks for all gun sales, including those conducted by private dealers, with the only exception being those sales between immediate family members.
But will any of this reduce New York City child injuries or fatalities resulting from firearms, either intentional or accidental? Federal statistics show that every day in this country, 18 children and young adults (between the ages of 1 and 24) are killed as a result of gun injuries. That's twice the number who die of cancer. That's five times the number who die of heart disease. That's 15 times the number who die from infections. It's second only to motor vehicle accidents.
In fact, death from unintentional firearm injuries is 10 times higher than in any other high-income country in the world. A 2006 study involving gun-owning families with children under the age of 18 revealed that nearly 22 percent store that gun unloaded. Thirty-two percent store it unlocked and loaded. In homes with teens between the ages of 13 and 17, guns were left unlocked more than 41 percent of the time.
We know that children and teenagers explore their surroundings without an adequate understanding of all the dangers that could be involved. Gun owners and facilities that permit firearm activities have an obligation of the utmost importance to ensure these kinds of tragedies are avoided.
The Law Offices of Nicholas Rose, PLLC offers free consultations. Call 1-877-313-7673.
Keeping Guns Away From Children, Jan. 7, 2013, By Jane E. Brody, The New York Times
New York passes major gun control law -- first since Newtown massacre, Jan. 15, 2013, By Becky Bratu and Pete Williams, NBC News
More Blog Entries:
New York Child Injuries Because of Negligence Discussed in Davis v. Devereux Foundation, April 20, 2012, New York City Personal Injury Lawyers Blog