The New York State Assembly passed “Nicholas’ Law” Tuesday, a bill named after the 12-year-old boy who was fatally shot by a middle-school classmate in 2010.
At 77-58, the votes were close, and the bill only won by one more vote than was necessary.
Nicholas’ Law requires all weapons not in the owner’s immediate possession to be safely stored, making it more difficult for children to access the potentially lethal weapons, but more difficult for homeowners to protect their family and property from invaders.
“It says for 600,000 hunters, don’t pick up a cup of coffee on the way, (and) don’t use the restroom on your way back unless you bring your rifle with you,” said Assemblyman Andrew Goodel (R-Chatauqua County), questioning if leaving a gun in a vehicle would result in charges being filed.
Assemblyman Bill Nojay (R-Monroe County) argued that the new law will not be respected by the citizens, and that their disrespect will extend to law in general and even law enforcement officials.
“When we pass laws that the citizenry does not respect we cheapen the law, we increase disrespect for the law and we increase disrespect for law enforcement,” said Nojay. “Mr. Speaker, this bill is poorly conceived and like the SAFE Act is poorly drafted.”
However, Nicholas’ mother, Oksana Naumkin, and the group New Yorkers Against Gun Violence, fully supported Nicholas’ Law, saying the new bill will help prevent similar tragedies from happening.
“I applaud the State Assembly’s vote today passing Nicholas’s Law, which will prevent future tragedies such as the one that devastated our family,” she said. “Nothing will bring Nicholas back to us. But with today’s vote, we are a step closer to enacting a statewide law that will mean other families will not have to endure our ongoing pain. Now it is the Senate’s responsibility to act. We are not going away. We will continue to fight for Nicholas’s Law until it is the law of the State of New York.”
(This article was written by freelance writer Brent Rogers)