Local responses to shootings include requiring gun stores to post warnings

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Warning labels will soon be required everywhere firearms are sold in Westchester County, New York. This week’s unanimous vote by a state county council is part of a range of local responses to gun violence, including the recent shootings in BuffaloNew York; Orange County, California; and Houston.

Access to a firearm increases the risk of suicide, homicide and accidental death, and warning labels can be an important tool in educating people about a risk to public health and safety, according to Christian Heyne, vice president of policy for the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.

“There’s a misconception in this country that bringing a gun home can make it safer, while you increase the likelihood of you and your family being shot,” Heyne told CBS MoneyWatch. “We have a responsibility to ensure that people exercising their Second Amendment rights do so with a full understanding of the risk.”

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Westchester County Board of Legislators


The idea is one promoted by the Gun Shop Project – a national partnership of gun owner groups and suicide prevention advocates – which encourages stores to post and pass on information about guns and suicide.

“It’s just to put up a warning sign so people are better informed,” Jewel Williams Johnson, a Westchester County lawmaker who helped sponsor the measure requiring the warning signage, told CBS MoneyWatch.

Whereas a majority of Americans favor some form of gun control, “that’s not it,” Johnson said of the new law, which passed Monday and takes effect in three months.

“If this legislation and warning signs at gun stores help make any gun owner think twice and be more diligent,” preventing a single incident of domestic violence, suicide or the unintentional death of a child, then it’s worth it, said Johnson, who noted there were about 40 gun stores in the county.

According to the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, 54% of gun deaths in New York City are suicides and more than 27% of all suicide deaths in the state involve firearms. Additionally, nearly 37% of intimate partner homicides in New York City involve a firearm.

To be displayed at retailers and given to those seeking gun licenses in the county, the notices will also include contact information for the county’s Crisis Prevention and Response Team and the number of the national suicide hotline.

Divergent paths between states

Other cities and states across the country are taking action against guns, with some localities easing restrictions and others tightening them. Texas, for example, stopped requiring residents to get a gun license. The 18 year old who shot and killed 19 children and two adults at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, legally purchased the gun he used, law enforcement officials said Wednesday.

On the other end of the spectrum, New York Governor Kathy Hochul promised this month to work to raise the state’s minimum age for gun purchase from 18 to 21. “at least”.

While surveys show most Americans support banning assault weapons, none of the 30 states with a Republican-controlled legislature have implemented policy, according to Christopher Poliquin, professor of strategy at UCLA who researched gun policy.

Although paralysis on the issue at the federal level is now the norm, “supporters and opponents of the new restrictions should look beyond Washington for action on gun policy,” Poliquin wrote Wednesday in a published essay. on TheConversation.com.

In Colorado, the Boulder City Council is due to consider a package of proposed gun laws on June 7, including reviving a 2018 ban on assault rifles, now that the state has lifted the ban. prohibition of local gun control measures. The city will also vote on raising the age to 21 for buying and owning a firearm; add a 10-day waiting period for the purchase of a firearm; and prohibit gun owners from carrying a concealed firearm near parks, playgrounds, churches and preschools.

As in New York’s Westchester County, Boulder officials are also considering requiring its two gun stores to post a health warning about the dangers posed by firearms to owners, family members And the others.

Since 2018, gun dealers and shooting ranges in King County, Washington have been required to post signs warning of gun hazards.

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