Imagine that you have recently lost a loved one. Maybe it was an unexpected loss, maybe it followed a prolonged illness. Maybe you are surrounded by family and friends, maybe you are grieving alone.
You have arrangements to make. You have forms to fill out. You have cards to read and casseroles to accept from well-meaning neighbors.
And if you live in Buffalo, New York, you also have to wonder whether or not the police are coming to confiscate your loved one's weapons.
New York state law allows for the state to confiscate legally permitted weapons after the permit-holder passes away, but the city of Buffalo is taking it up a notch – promising to arrive on the permit holders' doorsteps before grass can grow over their gravesites. New York state law also allows for the relatives of the deceased to submit an application to retain the weapons, but they must do so within fifteen days. If they do not apply to keep the weapons, they must turn them in to the authorities – the failure to comply with this law is a misdemeanor punishable by fines or up to a year in jail.
Buffalo authorities claim that their efforts are concentrated on ensuring that weapons don't accidentally end up in the wrong hands. They do not say whether, in their noble attempt to keep New Yorkers safe, they also intend to inform the relatives of the deceased of their legal rights to retain all long guns (the law does not apply to rifles) or to sell or apply to keep all handguns prior to confiscation.