Making funeral arrangements, laying a loved one to rest, and going through his or her belongings is difficult for anyone. But New York State is adding another step to the process. It comes from an old and rarely enforced law, but is finding new enforcement in Buffalo. The law says that once a gun permit holder dies, executors have 15 days to turn the guns in to authorities, or dispose of them.
Buffalo, New York Police Commissioner Daniel Derrenda told local news,
“At times, they lay out there and the family is not aware of them, and they end up just out on the street.”
He said that officers from his department will be going to the estates of deceased permit holders and collecting pistols so “they don’t end up in the wrong hands.”
Many people may not realize, however, that the law does not apply to long guns. Additionally, family members may sell their loved one’s pistols or apply to keep it for themselves once they are licensed. News reports that the guns are discovered by matching death records with gun permits. Attorney Dominic Saraceno shared is concern that many families will not entirely understand what their legal rights are in this situation. He said,
“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.”
What would you do if the police arrived at your home to confiscate a deceased family member’s pistol(s)?