Latimer Signs Bill Mandating Warning
of the Dangers of Weapons or Firearms
Westchester County Executive George Latimer has signed into law legislation that would require the posting of notices warning of the dangers of weapons or firearms at the point of sale and at the point of the issuance of a firearm license.
Latimer said, “We all know that the key driver of gun violence in the United States is the wide availability of firearms. When a gun is easily accessible, the risk of homicide, suicide, and unintentional shootings rises dramatically. We as a County are limited as to what we can do when it comes to preventing access to firearms, but as we banned the gun show at the County Center, we can take steps to strip away the glorification of weapons. Similar to the Surgeon General’s Warning on cigarettes, this warning will remind people just how dangerous guns are.”
Chairwoman Catherine Borgia said, “When we first began discussing this law a few years ago, I was stunned to learn of the sheer number of accidental deaths of children in homes that have guns. I think that just a reminder of the safety necessary when people choose to have guns in their homes is so important. When my children were younger and we would go to houses for play dates, I would always ask ‘Is there a gun in your house?’ And more than a few parents say, ‘Our kids don’t know.’ But they do know. This will be a valuable reminder for anyone who is a buyer of a weapon that safety measures are critical for the well-being of their own loved ones.”
This new law would require every person, firm or corporation located in Westchester and engaged in the retail business of selling weapons to post a notice where weapons or firearms are displayed or delivered to the purchaser at the entrance to the site and in at least one additional area where sales occur conspicuously stating, in no smaller than 24-point type and on paper at least 8 and 1/2 inches by 11 inches in bold print the following warning:
ACCESS TO A WEAPON OR FIREARM IN THE HOME SIGNIFICANTLY INCREASES THE RISK OF SUICIDE, HOMICIDE, DEATH DURING DOMESTIC DISPUTES AND UNINTENTIONAL DEATHS TO CHILDREN, HOUSEHOLD MEMBERS AND OTHERS. IF YOU OR A LOVED ONE IS EXPERIENCING DISTRESS AND/OR DEPRESSION, CALL THE CRISIS PREVENTION AND RESPONSE TEAM AT (914) 925-5959 or THE NATIONAL SUICIDE HOTLINE AT 988.
Upon the issuance of a license, the County Clerk would also be required to provide the licensee a written copy of the notice indicating the warning risks of the presence of a weapon or firearm in the home. This legislation passed the Westchester County Board of Legislatures unanimously.
Chair of the Board’s Health Committee, and one of the legislation’s chief sponsors, Legislator Jewel Williams Johnson said, “We continue to be tragically reminded, day after day in this country, of the often fatal consequences that occur when guns are at hand. This is especially true for someone suffering from mental illness or depression. Horrific incidents like the unthinkable mass murder of children in Uvalde make headlines, but so many gun deaths don’t — in suicides or domestic disputes or accidents that decimate families. Warning labels won’t end criminal gun violence, but hopefully will help buyers to be mindful of the dangers of bringing a gun home and be even more carefully about where and how they store them. If something as simple as a warning sign can prevent one suicide, one domestic violence death, one accidental shooting, it is well worth it.”
Chair of the Board’s Public Safety Committee Legislator Terry Clements said, “The goal of this law is to help people make informed decisions, understand how serious owning a gun is, and think about the potential repercussions of that — not just for the owner but for people around them, especially children, who may have access to an improperly stored gun and accidentally discharge it.”
New York Chapter of Moms Demand Action Volunteer Barry Graubart said, “In Westchester County, gun safety is a top priority, and that includes ensuring that county residents understand the risks that firearms bring with them in the home. Potential gun owners deserve to know what it means to have guns in their homes, and this ordinance is a major step toward creating that awareness. We are glad to see County Executive Latimer sign this important common-sense measure into effect.”