Gun Safety Warning Graphic

White Plains, NY —  With the nation reeling from recent gun violence in Buffalo, Orange County and Houston, the Board of Legislators on Monday voted unanimously to require warning labels to be posted where firearms are sold in Westchester County.

The labels would warn that access to a firearm in the home significantly increases the risk of suicide, homicide, and death during domestic disputes as well as the risk of accidental deaths of children or others.  It also includes contact information for the County's Crisis Prevention and Response Team and the National Suicide Hotline. Besides being displayed at retailers, the warning would also be given to people seeking gun licenses in Westchester.

Legislator Jewel Williams Johnson (D-Sleepy Hollow, Tarrytown, Elmsford, Greenburgh, White Plains), Chair of the Board's Health Committee, and one of the legislation's chief sponsors, said, "We continue to be tragically reminded of the often fatal consequences that occur when guns are at hand. This is especially true for someone suffering from mental illness or depression. A warning label won't end criminal gun violence, or end the racism that apparently motivated the Buffalo shooter. But, it will help buyers and serve as an alert to be mindful of the danger of bringing a gun home, and perhaps inspire buyers to think more carefully about where and how they store their guns and who might have access to them. If something as simple as a warning label can prevent one suicide, one domestic violence death, one accidental shooting, it is well worth it."

Legislator Terry Clements (D-Pelham, Pelham Manor, New Rochelle), Chair of the Board’s Public Safety Committee, said, “This gun store warning label law will help people make informed decisions and understand how serious owning a gun is and the repercussions of that -- not just for the owner but for people around them, especially children, who may have access to an improperly stored gun and accidentally discharge it.”

Legislator Colin Smith (D-Cortlandt, Peekskill, Yorktown), Chair of the Board's Legislation Committee, said, "Like our County gun storage law, this is a basic, sensible, safety measure. It's a gentle reminder to gun buyers that there are risks in having a weapon in the home, and that those risks can reach beyond just the gun owner, so think about everyone in the household."

According to the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, 54 percent of gun deaths in New York are suicides and more than 27 percent of all suicide deaths in New York involve firearms. From 2013 to 2017, 2,283 people in New York died by gun-related suicide -- one every 19 hours. In addition, from 2007 to 2016, 180 women were killed with a gun by their intimate partner in New York -- nearly 37 percent of New York's intimate partner homicides involve a gun.