Letters: Gun-Storage Proposal

Our elected leaders of Philipstown need to focus their time, energy and taxpayers’ dollars on our opioid crisis instead of a partisan safe-storage gun law (Gun Storage, Again, Jan. 19).

We had a least five deaths in Philipstown related to opioid overdoses in 2017 and probably more. Philipstown has not had an accidental firearms death in years and years. And don’t attempt to argue it will prevent suicides: people who want to kill themselves will find a way with or without a firearm.

The town’s misguided attempt to solve a problem that is not a problem in Philipstown is nothing short of anti-gun, fear-mongering rhetoric, which I find appalling. The board’s proposed law will hinder my ability to protect my home, myself and my family.

I find it hard to believe that this lovely town to which I moved to 25 years ago would have duly elected officials who think it is OK to operate above the law when they know that the safe storage act is unconstitutional.

Your voice can be heard during a public hearing on this proposal scheduled for Wednesday, Feb. 21, at 7:30 p.m. at the Haldane school auditorium.

Rodney Dow, Garrison

Last year, during a discussion at a Philipstown Town Board meeting about the proposed safe-storage gun ordinance, many people made statements in opposition to this unnecessary, illegal and unenforceable shackling of the right of law-abiding citizens to defend themselves and their families.

At the meeting, several certified firearms instructors, hunter safety instructors and range safety officers, including myself, offered to volunteer to teach firearm safety to young people. The Town Board did not seize on this opportunity, but it would help the entire community by teaching respect for firearms, not fear.

Target shooting, in particular, teaches discipline, order, sportsmanship, respect, concentration and fun in a friendly, competitive manner. This would benefit all boys and girls, but in particular those who may not be inclined to participate in traditional athletics, including students with disabilities.

It is incumbent upon the Town Board to take advantage of these freely offered and heartfelt resources and initiate a program. Yet since that meeting last year, we have not received one letter, email or phone call from any board member to move forward.

With proper training, a young person who comes across a firearm will not pick it up out of curiosity. This would save not just his or her life, but countless others by not forcing gun owners to lock up their primary source of protection.

Kenn Sapeta, Cold Spring

4 thoughts on “Letters: Gun-Storage Proposal

  1. In this climate of death from guns, it is irresponsible to ignore the rage and out-of-control gun use. Prayers are useless. Only gun control can change this climate of fear. How many children need to die for responsible gun control?

    Target shooting? Responsible gun use? This is based on self-interest and shows no concern for the climate of insanity that has taken over the U.S. We are in crisis mode and we need to push back the NRA and say no!

  2. This world is full of weapons. It doesn’t matter if you lock up every gun: people will find any way necessary to kill each other. If it wasn’t guns, it would be bombs. It’s scarier to think that, in my opinion. The right to choose is our right. What’s next? Cars, food, house, how many kids we can have? Be careful when asking for new legislation.

  3. Connotations, and explicit references, to conditions and events elsewhere and under other circumstances could cloud the discussion and debate of the proposed local law. Hidden agendas and/or ill-defined associations might then come into play. Criminalizing X does not, in and of itself, make Y a crime. It might, however, make a further association of “criminality” between X and Y in the minds anyone inclined to see things in that way.

    The matter at hand is a proposal to criminalize a particular type of behavior, hitherto not a crime (one might be jailed for up to one year for this newly defined offense). A financial penalty in the form of a fine of $1,000 would also be possible. The penalties seem relatively draconian to me.

    I am very skeptical that the solution to ineffective, incompetent, irresponsible and “bad” social behavior, as defined by a “majority” of legislators, or even a “majority” of voters, is more law and, as it is the normal consequence thereof, more government. I realize it’s a commonly held view that this is the way government works, and should work. However, as the enforcement of laws is performed by the executive branches of governments, and those in power and influence, they are often if not universally done so unequally – the powerful, the wealthy, the crafty, and the well-connected typically avoid penalties while others are subject to new restrictions. In other words, new laws generally result in new opportunities for negligent, irresponsible, unjust, unequal, and bad behavior, on the part of governments, in conjunction with, or separately by, those of the citizenry effectively immune to these laws! Examples of these (unintended consequences?) are easy enough to come by.

    One problem with peculiar local laws is that by definition they vary by city, county, and state. In this day and age of high mobility, how are people expected to keep track of laws and codes, particularly the peculiar ones? How many millions of laws, codes, rules, findings, agreements, and interpretations are we currently or potentially subject to, even if and as we are ignorant of them?

    Hearings and forums on new laws I have observed tend to devolve into a display of the paradigm of partisan politics. Perhaps one or another interest group or political faction are more concerned or more affected by a particular type of “bad” social behavior. If that group holds power or influence the topic is on the agenda. Otherwise it’s not.

    Reference has already been made that while there is activity in discussing gun “safe-storage” law there is no or very limited discussion of laws for opioids. How about the consideration of a law requiring “safe-storage” of opiods? Is this not on the table because it’s not a concern of those currently and locally in power? Taking this a bit further, does this provide an indication that laws are created by, for, and in the interest of influential factions, rather than in the interest of society at large?

    If the town is thinking of safe storage requirements for guns, why is it not also considering, similarly, safe storage of cigarettes, alcohol, automobiles and/or their ignition keys, substances containing caffeine, power drills, chain saws, lawn movers, snowmobiles, construction equipment, kitchen knives, prescription drugs, illegal drugs, flammable materials, pesticides, nanotechnology, smart phones, drones and so on.

    These items and substances are potentially dangerous, in some cases indirectly — most of them are already regulated, their use is licensed or criminalized under certain circumstances today. Perhaps data could be provided, for these, on deaths and injuries in the town over the years, which have occurred, and which might have been prevented, by “safe storage” laws.

    We seem most concerned with laws when they appear to be directed at us — when they appear to be directed at others we might not notice, or we might well be satisfied. The key is the phase “appear to be.” Don’t have a gun? Probably not too concerned with more restrictions on them. Don’t have an automobile? Probably not too concerned about more restriction on them. Don’t use alcohol, don’t use opioids since not affected by aches and pains, don’t have a chain saw, never use kitchen knives? Probably not concerned with additional restrictions on them. But what if your views change after you supported or were indifferent to a draconian law against the whatever something you later deem desirable or indispensable?

  4. “A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

    I wonder what they meant by “well-regulated”? What we have now is anything but.