SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Saratoga Springs City Council passed an amendment to its firearms ordinance on Tuesday night. Officials say it was necessary because the ordinance has not been updated since the 1970s.
The amendment prohibits the possession of firearms while intoxicated in public spaces.
It includes penalties for each firearm discharge. Every gun shot while intoxicated is susceptible to a fine ranging from $250 to $2,500.
The changes were introduced by Commissioner of Public Safety James Montagnino, after the off-duty Vermont deputy involved shooting late last year.
He said he saw a disconnect when he learned the individuals involved in that shooting were licensed to carry and had the foresight to get designated drivers knowing they would be impaired.
“There’s something terribly wrong about the notion that you know that you’re likely to have your judgment impaired to the point where you shouldn’t be driving and yet you can carry your licensed weapon,” said Montagnino.
Mayor Ron Kim said discharges were in the double figures during the November incident.
“Nobody needs a gun while they’re out having a good time on Caroline street.. Just like drinking and driving don’t mix, drinking and having a gun don’t mix,” said Kim.
Prior to that incident Kim said it had been over 20 years since shots had been fired on broadway.
“What we want to do is just make sure that our city continues to be a safe place for people to come,” said Kim.
Montagnino says 20 states have laws making it a crime to carry a firearm while intoxicated.
“I discovered that New York tried this a couple of times in the state legislature but it never got out of committee,” Montagnino said.
He wants Saratoga County to pass a law and wants the state to re-address the issue.
“What I would love to see is, if we can pass a common sense gun control ordinance that everybody seems to be in agreement with, it’s the beginning – or could be the beginning – of a movement,” said Montagnino.
He said there needs to be common sense measures to prevent people from being armed at the wrong times.