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Village Trustees Consider Laws to Regulate Gun Dealerships and Gun Storage

gunshopCould a gun dealer open a retail store in Scarsdale? Under our current Village code, nothing would bar a licensed gun seller from setting up shop in a commercial location in Scarsdale. And with so many of those vacant, it's not impossible that this could happen. The Town of Harrison recently found themselves with a gun shop in town and they are now considering passing town ordinances to regulate the presence of gun dealers in town. 

With that in mind, Trustee Carl Finger, who now heads the Law Committee of the Scarsdale Village of Trustees invited Allison Anderman, Staff Attorney for the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence to meet with the trustees to review potential measures that could be taken to control the sale of guns in Scarsdale.

Though there are currently no licensed gun dealers in Scarsdale and the Village's zoning code prevents the sale of guns in residential areas, Scarsdale does not currently have code to prevent the operation of a gun dealership. Anderman shared provisions that are under consideration in other municipalities to regulate gun dealers.

Specifically she suggested Scarsdale consider enacting the following:

Prevent gun dealerships in "sensitive" areas near schools, nursery schools and religious institutions.

Require background checks for the employees of gun dealers.

Require dealers to meet security standards to prevent theft -- such as an alarm system and videotaping capability which could help to solve straw purchasing crimes. Anderman noted that Walmart voluntarily started videotaping gun transactions several years ago.

Restrict gun sales to facilities that are not visible to the public so that purchases cannot be witnessed through a store window.

Allow law enforcement to inspect gun dealerships during normal business hours. Anderman explained that routine inspections provide law enforcement to deter illegal activity and trafficking. She added that the data shows that states do not permit inspections are the source of 50% of illegal guns found in other states.

Require gun dealers to report their inventory to law enforcement officials on a regular basis.

Restricted admittance for minors to gun dealerships.

Prohibit those who can't own a gun from access to the gun dealership.

Require gun dealers to post notices and warnings of firearm laws and suicide prevention resources.

Require gun dealers to get a land use permit to ensure that their site conforms to local law and is a safe location.

Anderman also suggested that Scarsdale consider it's own safe gun storage laws requiring guns to be locked when stored.

The Village Attorney advised that Westchester County already passed a safe gun storage law. The county law requires that guns are stored securely and locked to prevent access to children and unauthorized users. The Village Attorney is going to investigate whether Scarsdale is already covered under the County law or stronger local measures are needed. 

In addition, the Village will investigate if any county or state laws already regulate gun dealers and see what is needed to further safeguard the Village.

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