Thanks to the approval of a New York City Counsel measure on Tuesday, all citizens applying for a firearm license and/or permit will now receive a warning from the state’s Police Department about the potential repercussions firearms can inflict, including suicide and death.
The bill, known as Intro 1724, instructs NYPD officials to to give applicants an obligatory health warning of the high risks of suicide and death when owning and operating a firearm. Thanks to the bill’s passing (44-2), it is now heading to the desk of Mayor Bill de Blasio for signature.
This health warning is very similar to the Surgeon General warnings found on cigarette cartons. The idea of the bill is to create a “national movement” regarding gun ownership risks.
According to Guns.com:
“A majority of Americans believe that having a gun in their home makes them safer, and numerous studies have conclusively demonstrated the opposite is true,” Mark-Viverito said. “The risk of suicide is higher in homes with guns. The risk of homicide is higher in homes where an abusive partner owns a gun and occupants are significantly more likely to die from accidental gunshot injuries in homes with guns.”
The warning would advise that: “The presence of a firearm in the home has been associated with an increased risk of death to self and others, including an increased risk of suicide, death during domestic violence incidents, and unintentional deaths to children and others.”
A fiscal impact analysis found the move wouldn’t cost the city anything as existing resources would be used to implement the legislation.
The measure passed the Council’s Public Safety Committee on Monday 6-1 with the committee chair, Councilwoman Vanessa Gibson, saying, “these gun warnings are the first step to changing the public’s conversation.”
NYPD legislative affairs director Oleg Chernyavsky told the committee earlier this month that the agency supports the proposal. He said the agency currently provides applicants with a pamphlet on state and local gun laws, including safe storage requirements, but doesn’t issue a warning on potential risks from the misuse of firearms.
The city of 8.5 million has just over 41,000 people licensed to possess firearms — with just 2,500 of those having very rare carry permits — and has among the strongest licensing requirements in the nation, The New York Times reported.
If Mayor de Blasio signs Intro 1724 into law, the state will not be the first to carry out mandatory gun warnings.
For instance, California has been placing warnings on firearm certificates, as well as informational pamphlets, as far back as 1993. In addition, the state’s laws currently require that all firearm packaging have a warning labels on them. These warnings state that children can attempt to handle the firearm, and that the owner can held liable, facing fines and/or imprisonment.
Washington has also been attempting to reduce suicide rates by mandating that the Department of Fish and Wildlife add suicide prevention info to their instructional pamphlets. They are also attempting to partner pharmacies with gun dealers in creating materials and training that will help employees with suicide assessment.