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NY Gun Storage Bill Amended, Allows Camp Firearm Storage

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The bills add language to the gun storage bill which saves the shooting sports at Boy Scout camps, summer camps, high school clubs, and other shooting ranges,” said  Bob Confer, president of the Trail Council. “That means our wonderful rifle and shotgun ranges can continue to exist at the Iroquois Trail Council’s Camp Dittmer.”

The Assembly Bill summary states the bill “provides for an exception to firearm storage requirements related to persons less than 16 years old when such person less than 16 years old is at a shooting range under immediate supervision, or when such person less than 16 years old is the holder of a hunting license or permit.”

Confer in an April column said the legislation might have prevented most Scouts from earning the rifle shooting merit badge.


Two things helped our cause and gave us a little hope. For starters, the column went viral and thousands of people reached out to their elected officials. Within days, the bill’s sponsor was quoted in the New York Times as saying she hadn’t intended for the Scouts to be harmed by the bill and it was something she could fix,” Confer said. “Secondly, some key Scouters across the state worked with elected officials with whom they have ties to craft the revised language and educate others on it. I’ll admit we got quite worried again this past month, especially heading into the last week of the legislative session. Had it not gone (into) both houses, Cuomo would have had before him only the old language to sign into law. So, it was a stressful last-minute sort of thing.”

Even when Albany was considering the legislation without the amendment, the Scouts would probably have been able to use the range this year, based on the standard adoption period for new laws, Confer said. “But the original bill had some of our board members wondering how to fill the void in programming had we lost the ability to offer shooting sports in 2020 and beyond. We would have lost our own council Scouts to camps in other gun-friendly states and we would have lost the Canadian scouts who come to us regularly, citing our shooting ranges as a major reason for their visit.

Without campers there’s no camp. That’s an uncomfortable thought,” he said.

At Camp Dittmer, more than 300 boys earned the Rifle Shooting Merit Badge or used our shotgun range last year during three weeks of summer camp, Confer said.

To get the badge the boys have to learn safe procedures for the range and in the general environment, they have to show proper use of the gun, they have to pass a shooting test on the range and they have to clean the equipment. It’s a week of hard, yet satisfying, work that turns them into capable and safe marksmen,” Confer said.

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Edited by RememberSchiff
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