(WBNG Binghamton) A coalition of nine state attorneys general and one attorney general-elect led by New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman on Monday urged the leadership of the U.S. Senate to reject “The National Right-to-Carry Reciprocity Act” and “The Respecting States Rights and Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act,” laws would force states like New York, and the other co-signing states, to abandon their own gun laws by allowing out-of-state visitors to carry concealed firearms based on their home state's less safe laws, rather than those of the state they are entering.
According to a news release from Schneiderman's office:
Earlier this week, Attorney General Schneiderman won a major court victory in defense of New York State’s gun safety laws. In a unanimous decision in the case of Kachalsky, et al. v. Cacace, et al, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit rejected a constitutional challenge to New York's handgun licensing statute, ruling that the law requiring individuals to demonstrate “proper cause” to obtain a license to carry concealed handguns in public does not violate the Constitution’s Second Amendment.
In a letter to Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), the attorneys general today wrote that the bill would restrict their states’ ability to control who may and may not carry a concealed weapon within their borders, undermine the ability of police to verify the validity of gun permits, and allow gun traffickers to more easily bring illegal guns into their respective states.
“These two bills would force states to recognize concealed carry permits issued by any other states, even those with poor oversight and weaker permitting standards,” the attorneys general wrote. “These bills would create a lowest common denominator approach to public safety that would endanger police and make it more difficult to prosecute gun traffickers.”
States cosigning with New York on the letter to the U.S. Senate leadership are California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nevada, Oregon and Pennsylvania.
A 2010 study showed that nearly half of the guns that crossed state lines before being recovered in crimes came from just ten states, most with comparatively weak gun laws, indicating that weak gun laws in other states have already had an appreciable negative public safety impact on states like New York. Indeed, in 2011, approximately 68 percent of the traced guns recovered in connection with crimes committed in New York State originally came from outside the State.
Under the National Right-to-Carry Reciprocity Act and the Respecting States Rights and Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act, if someone brings guns across state lines, authorities in the state where the guns are actually present would not be able to uniformly enforce their own carefully considered standards for concealed carry privileges. The signatory states have standards that are stricter than either federal law or the laws of a number of other states. For example, New York’s standards include a prohibition for those individuals who have been convicted of a “serious offense,” including felonies and certain misdemeanors; a minimum age requirement of 21 years old or honorable discharge from the U.S. Armed Forces; broad discretion for law enforcement in licensing; and character, "proper cause," and residency requirements.
Additionally, New York requires every applicant for a handgun license to submit to a criminal background check and mental health review, restrictions essential to public safety. These precautions are not applied in all states, and would be undermined by statutes that provide for the ‘lowest-common-denominator’ as the rule of law for gun licenses.
The National Right-to-Carry Reciprocity Act, S. 2188 and the Respecting States Rights and Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act, S. 2213 are now pending in Congress.
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said, “Concealed carry reciprocity would make it possible for those with criminal records, or those who have histories of violent or irresponsible behavior, to carry guns into cities and states that currently require concealed carry permit holders to meet minimum standards. And it would make it nearly impossible for police to quickly verify whether an out-of-state permit is valid, which could result in the detention of law-abiding gun owners – or, even worse, the release of individuals who carry guns to commit crimes. This is an important public safety matter, and we welcome the attorneys general to the broad coalition opposing the effort in Washington to remove safeguards that many states have adopted.”
Jackie Hilly, Executive Director of New Yorkers Against Gun Violence, said, “New York requires mental health screening to get a concealed carry permit, and bars felons and people with violent misdemeanor convictions from getting permits, but many states lack such common sense restrictions. The attorneys general are right to oppose any effort that would allow violent criminals or mentally unbalanced individuals to legally carry concealed guns in New York.”
Dan Gross, President of Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, “Most concealed carry laws strip law enforcement of the discretion to protect their communities from dangerous and violent people, which is what they take an oath to do and what we need them to do. And it's why I applaud the attorneys general for speaking out on behalf of their constituents against the dangerously ill-considered reciprocity legislation.”
Hilary O. Shelton, the Director of the NAACP Washington Bureau and the Senior Vice President for Advocacy and Policy, said, “More concealed guns on our city streets will result in more disputes escalating into tragedies. Many of the attorneys general who have signed onto this letter come from states with densely populated areas, and these states have enacted sensible laws to keep concealed weapons out of the wrong hands. Gun violence is currently the number one killer of African American men between the ages of 12 and 19, and gun related homicide continues to be a tragic and relentless problem throughout the African American community. The NAACP thanks Attorney General Eric Schneiderman for his leadership on this issue and joins all nine attorneys general in opposing any law that would import weaker standards—and more concealed guns—from other states. This truly is a matter of life and death.”