Westchester County, NY gun owners take aim at county’s firearm safety laws.

Westchester gun owners are balking at the county's firearm safety…

Westchester gun owners are balking at the county’s firearm safety laws.

With the echo of the Supreme Court decision upholding the Second Amendment right to bear arms still ringing in their ears, they want the county to stop scrutinizing applicants for permits and licenses.

Scott Sommavilla, president of the Westchester County Firearm Owners Association, criticized police for using “no-knock” (if need be) search warrants issued by local judges.

The warrants allow police to enter homes – by force if needed – to verify weapons listed on permit applications are safely stored.

“This is an invasion of privacy and denies a gun owner’s civil rights,” charged Sommavilla, who met Monday with county legislators and state Supreme Court Justice Alan Scheinkman to review the county’s gun law.

Legislator Tom Abinanti (D-Greenburgh), who authored the law 10 years ago, called the searches prudent in cases in which owners had more than five guns.

“It bears on judges to issue handgun licenses and additional permits. They want to know what the circumstances are, how the guns are stored,” Abinanti said.

Unlike New York City, which requires renewal of gun licenses and permits every two years, Westchester requires it every five years.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruling also upheld the right to possess a firearm inside a person’s home for self-defense. But the county is sticking to its gun storage law, which mandates the use of trigger locks or that guns be stored in a locked space. Some gun owners say the rules make it impossible for them to defend themselves.

Charles Timlin, who, with his wife Rita, owns the RT Smoke & Gun gun shop in Mount Vernon, said the county law favors criminals.

“If my home is being invaded by a criminal carrying an illegal gun, do I ask him to wait so I can unlock my gun and protect my family, or do I get killed?” he asked.

Source: Abby Luby for the N.Y. Daily News.

Load Comments
  • These kinds of laws are wrong regardless of how well intentioned. These do gooders must be stopped. We are losing our rights and the Gestapo style police officers rush in to enforce laws that should never be on the books in the first place. When there were consequences for our actions people were less apt to violate their neighbor. Could this possibly have been in part at least for fear of having to answer to the person violated??????

  • Aaron

    Not only is the storage law a big pain, NYS is almost alone in the way it handles handles handguns.
    Over 40 states treat handguns just like any other gun – you go to the store, pass a NICS check, and leave with the pistol, usually the same day.
    NYS requires handgun registration by adding each additional handgun to your license, which means paperwork and waiting until a judge “approves” the amendment. And this only allows carry to and from the range in most cases – not fulltime CCW!
    And this is after some serious paperwork and background scrutiny, well above the NICS check!