“Should children be allowed to handle guns?” timesunion.com asks. “In Rensselaer County, two probation officers say yes — although it is unclear if the practice is legal.” I know what you’re thinking: how can it be illegal for a child to touch a gun? Two words: Empire State. According to Article 265 – § 265.01 of the New York Penal Code “A person is guilty of criminal possession of a weapon in the fourth degree when (1) He or she possesses any firearm . . .” Yup. “Possesses” as in holds. And therein lies our divorce-driven tale of not one, not two, but at least THREE children touching, indeed handling firearms . . .
Court papers obtained by the Times Union show that two of the county’s probation officers said under oath that they allowed their young children to handle their unloaded service weapons as a way to satisfy the children’s curiosity about guns.
The accounts surfaced in an Albany County Family Court battle between one of the officers and her estranged husband, who questioned his wife’s decision. In court papers, the probation officer, Kelly Miazga, said she allowed her sons — ages 9 and 10 at the time — to handle her weapon on Oct. 26, 2011. [pictured above]
“I first unloaded the gun outside of their presence, then showed the children that it was unloaded and allowed them to handle the gun under my supervision,” she said in a statement. “I did not allow them to pull the trigger or point the gun in any direction. I explained how a gun works and how dangerous it is to touch a gun under any circumstances.”
Illegal! Immoral! Fattening! Well, maybe not calorific. But certainly a HIGHLY DANGEROUS ACT. And it’s no good saying that you allowed a child to touch a gun to tell them that they should never touch a gun UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES.
In an email, Miazga’s husband, Robert Miazga of Latham, told the Times Union he was “floored” that his sons had been allowed to touch his wife’s service gun.
“While the rest of the country is fighting to keep handguns out of our children’s hands, (my wife) and (Van Aken) are claiming that it is the policy of Rensselaer County to hand over the county’s Glock semiautomatic handguns to 9- and 10-year-olds and … saying they are following NRA policy,” he wrote.
Dude, this shit is real.
A high-ranking police officer in Albany County, speaking on the condition of anonymity due to the sensitive nature of the family court case, said he was surprised that probation officers in Rensselaer County would allow children so young to handle even unloaded weapons. The officer said he showed his guns to his children when they were teenagers, but never let them handle them.
“Personally, I think that’s way too young,” the officer said. “I don’t think they’re mature enough.”
I’d be laughing if this was funny. But it’s not. Children should be taught hands-on gun safety as soon as possible. Remember: I’m not joking about the “you can’t touch this” part of New York state gun laws.
The Albany Police Department’s policy is that members should instruct their families on the dangers of their weapons.
“At no time should the children of an Albany police officer handle their firearm,” said Officer Steve Smith, a spokesman for the Albany Police Department.
Patrick Smith, director of the Zone 5 Law Enforcement Academy, which trains local police officers, said the academy takes pains to ensure that no one without authority touches a gun because the law does not allow anyone without a pistol permit or a badge to do so.
And just in case you think that kind of blatant infringement on Americans’ constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms is completely nuts—and it is—check this forum entry from DaveTrig over at thefiringline.com:
When I became an instructor, I went nuts talking to the Putnam Sheriffs Dept, Westchester Cty Police, and local DA’s, trying to find a way to do range time with students before they had their permits. In strict adherence to the the law, the only way is with a pre-license exemption under 400.00 3(b).
Oh and one more thing. Probation officers. Cops. One rule for them, one rule for everyone else.
Jayne Jesmain, counsel to Assemblyman Joseph Lentol, D-Brooklyn, who chairs the Assembly Codes Committee, which deals with every piece of crime legislation in New York, said she did not believe the Rensselaer County probation officers broke any gun laws. She said because they are trained officers and were present at the time, the officers would be considered to have been in “constructive possession” of the weapons.
Welcome to America.