Albany County passes law mandating warnings at gun stores

(AP Photo/AJ Mast, File)

Imagine selling a product that everyone knows has the potential to be misused, but then be required to “warn” people that those products could be misused. Sounds kind of stupid, doesn’t it?

Yet that’s the reality that gun stores in Albany County, New York are now faced with after the county passed a new law.

The Albany County Legislature passed a law Monday evening requiring gun stores in the county to display notices warning about the connection between having a firearm in a home and an increased chance of suicide and domestic violence.

The legislation, which passed along a party-line vote of 27-8, survived a last-minute attempt by Republican legislators to include amendments that would have included warnings about illegal firearms.

Legislator Dustin Reidy, who represents part of Guilderland, said the law, known as the Albany County Commitment to a Safe Society, was intended to inform buyers of the dangers of bringing a gun into a home and connect those who need help with emergency services.

Now, here’s the issue. That warning is bogus.

First, let’s talk about suicide. Yes, statistics show a higher rate of gun suicides among those who own guns. That’s an absolute fact. It’s also meaningless.

People who buy guns to kill themselves become gun owners in the process. If they take that gun home, which many do, then they have guns in the home. That’s bound to skew results all on its own.

Further, gun owners who happen to want to take their own lives are going to be more inclined to use a firearm, not because of some inherent danger of the gun, but because the media keeps going on and on about how “effective” it is for taking your own life.

Then there’s the fact that while the statistics may show an increase, they don’t show a likelihood. In other words, suicide is still statistically pretty rare. Owning a gun doesn’t mean you’re likely to take your own life by any stretch of the imagination.

As for domestic violence, well, at least as things are worded in this article, I’m about to go ape-s**t.

A firearm is an inanimate object. It has no sentience with which to even have its own will, much less to enforce that will onto others.

So just how can the mere presence of a gun increase the chances of domestic violence?

The simple answer is that it can’t.

What’s more, domestic violence happens far too often in this country, even in a whole lot of homes that don’t have a gun.

There is absolutely no link suggesting guns somehow cause domestic violence, and the suggestion that it does is an absolute falsehood.

Yes, there are studies that suggest domestic abusers who also own guns are more likely to use one on their spouse, but those studies have significant flaws, including failing to differentiate between lawful gun owners and those with firearms illegally.

Yet, despite these significant problems, these gun stores are going to be required to display a warning that is complete and absolute nonsense. It’s unreal.

On the upside, I suspect this will be challenged in court and, hopefully, be struck down in due course. After all, I’m willing to bet the Albany County Legislature is far more hazardous to people’s health than a lawfully owned firearm.