ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – The Albany County Legislature introduced a local law Monday in an effort to educate people on the public health and safety risks associated with firearms. The Albany County Commitment to Ensuring a Safe Society (ACCESS) law would require a warning sign displayed at all firearms dealers indicating the increased risk of violence that is associated with guns. The signs would also need to include contact information for the Albany County Mobile Crisis Team and the National Suicide Hotline.
The law also requires that a written copy of the warning be handed out with all firearm purchases and when anyone obtains a firearms license. Failure to display the warning label may result in imprisonment of not more than 15 days, a fine of no more than $1,000, or both.
“We have to do everything we can at all levels of government to stem the horrific tide of gun violence plaguing our nation,” said Albany County Legislator Dustin Reidy, sponsor of the ACCESS law. “The ACCESS law is a common-sense step toward the needed goal of gun violence prevention. I’m proud to introduce this legislation with the support of many Democratic colleagues. I hope parents, children, gun violence prevention advocates, and every member of our communities know they are being heard here in Albany County.”
Within the last 10 years, the firearm mortality rate has risen nearly 18%, with an average of 39,000 Americans dying from gun violence each year from 2015 to 2019. In 2020, that number increased to over 45,000 Americans. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that an average of 483 deaths each year are from unintentional shootings.
“Increasing public awareness in Albany County about the risk of access to guns in the home is essential to keeping our families and loved ones safe,” said Tracey Fountain, a volunteer with the New York chapter of Moms Demand Action. “Whether it’s gun suicide, unintentional shootings by children, or domestic violence, this ordinance will help educate potential gun buyers and recipients of firearm licenses about those risks before they purchase a firearm. I am grateful to the county legislature for taking important action on this critical issue.”
The ACCESS law is modeled after similar legislation that was passed in May by the Westchester County Legislature. It is being referred to the Law and Public Safety Committees for further review.