Under a “longstanding, but rarely enforced state law,” police in New York are permitted to confiscate firearms of legal gun owners within days of their deaths, Fox News reports. Pro-gun advocates are fuming now that police in Buffalo plan to enforce the law.
Buffalo Police Commissioner Daniel Derrenda argued the gun confiscation is necessary so the firearms “don’t end up in the wrong hands. The police department will reportedly use the death records of pistol permit holders to determine when guns will be confiscated.
At time, guns can “lay out there and the family is not aware of them and they end up just out on the street,” Derrenda said at a press conference, according to WGRZ-TV.
New York State Rifle & Pistol Association President Tom King said the police aren’t giving the public all the relevant information about the law.
"They're quick to say they're going to take the guns. But they don't tell you the law doesn't apply to long guns, or that these families can sell [their loved one's] pistol or apply to keep it,” he said.
A wall of semi-automatic rifles is seen at the National Rifle Association (NRA) Annual Meetings and Exhibits April 14, 2012 in St. Louis, Missouri. AFP PHOTO / Karen BLEIER KAREN BLEIER/AFP/Getty Images
WGRZ-TV has more on the law:
Some police agencies give families of the deceased permit holder 15 days to sell or transfer a weapon or weapons held with the permit to another permit holder or a dealer.
Police say the goal of reducing the number of guns on the street is also why they have offered the gun buyback, no-questions-asked program which exchanges pre-paid cash cards for guns. Many question whether criminals would ever do so, but police claim it is still beneficial to take in weapons each year.
Family members could face a misdemeanor charge, up to a year in jail and a fine if they don’t comply with the law.
Dominic Saraceno, a defense attorney in Buffalo, told Fox News that some gun collections can “value into the hundreds of thousands” and some families might not realize what they are allowing police to simply confiscate.
"If a police officer came to my door without a warrant signed by a judge, I'm not giving them anything. Most people don't know that and get intimidated,” he added.