Letters: More on Gun Storage

The misguided Philipstown Town Board has been entertaining and working on a gun-control measure since April 2015 (Philipstown Board Postpones Gun-Storage Vote, Feb. 23).

The Town Board is revising this proposed law for the fifth time, despite having no legal authority to pass it, which the town attorney and Town Board gun-control advocates understand full well: Section 2 of the proposed law notes that “the Town Board hereby asserts its intention to supersede Town Law pursuant to the Municipal Home Rule Law.” Supersede is the key word. It demonstrates “intent” on the elected board to violate state law. That is an expense this town can ill afford.

It also fails to address the real problem. Why is the board ignoring the elephant, or “low-hanging fruit,” as the board has called it — the opioid crisis. Opioids are a killer in this community, county, state and country. They are the clear and present danger. If the Town Board was serious about addressing the epidemic, the entire community would support it. It would go a long way to healing a community as opposed to dividing it.

Opioids do not discriminate. They are an equal-opportunity offender. The only way this community can move forward to confront opioids is to hold educational classes both at Haldane and the Philipstown Recreation Department. We all have to be active participants. I carry the opioid antidote Narcan and am not afraid to use it. The community is anyone within my line of sight. Why? Because opioids are everywhere.

The Town Board is failing the community by ignoring opioids. Why is it not passing any opioid laws? Is it politically imprudent or not important enough? The board should not use this as a platform to build one’s resume for the next election.

Airinhos Serradas, Cold Spring

Serradas, who was a Village of Cold Spring trustee from 2010 to 2012, indicated in the signature of his letter that he represents the Philipstown Coalition Against Opioids. A Facebook group under that name created Feb. 11 and categorized as a political organization had 45 likes as of March 5.

The Philipstown Town Board is considering a law that would impose unjust imprisonment and fines upon a civilian exercising his Second Amendment rights. There are very few laws that punish an honest citizen for innocent mistakes. Forgetting to place the firearm in a safe when leaving a residence should not constitute grounds for a misdemeanor charge with a penalty of up to a year in prison and a $1,000 fine for each firearm left unattended.

Most crimes require some sort of injury, either physically or financially, to justify a criminal charge. If we pass a law that does  not require an injury, it is quite likely the law will do more damage to the community than the activity it intended to prohibit. There has not been an accidental firearm death in Putnam County for 20 years.

Consider a situation in which a parent is called outside of the home to attend to an injured child. If that parent makes an honest mistake by accidentally leaving a firearm on a table, and exits the residence to attend to the child, the parent would be considered a criminal and could be thrown in jail for up to a year. Even if no one touched the firearm, and nothing happened, the parent could still be held liable.

What happens if a police officer is called to the scene and sees the unattended firearm through a window? Will the parents be thrown in jail? Could the children be permanently removed by child protective services? How many families will be torn apart by this proposed law?

Chris Turan, Mahopac

2 Responses to "Letters: More on Gun Storage"

  1. Michael Armstrong   March 11, 2018 at 3:43 pm

    Just as we can imagine circumstances where the negligence of an adult in handling weapons seems justified (rushing outside to aid an injured child while a loaded weapon sits on the dining room table), and punishment unwarranted, we can imagine circumstances with many other offenses — like the requirement that everyone fasten their seatbelt when driving — that make us wonder if enforcement is sometimes unfair.

    The law requiring that weapons be secured in the home balances the interest of society to nudge weapons owners to be responsible about securing those weapons. The many hundreds of deaths of children in this country every year from accidents involving unsecured weapons justifies enacting modest, reasonable measures that occasionally may risk arrests that seem a little unfair — as when a driver absently-mindedly forgets to fasten his or her seatbelt.

  2. Evan Hudson   March 12, 2018 at 9:48 pm

    Why, in a debate about gun storage, is it necessary to change the subject so quickly? The topic at issue is gun safety — specifically, the lack of it, and how to fix that. I also wonder why people who are not residents of Philipstown feel compelled to weigh in on a law designed to protect my children and others who live in Philipstown.