A proposed amendment to federal gun law is making some politicians go ballistic.
U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) warned community leaders last Sunday about a controversial measure that would allow anyone with a permit to legally carry a concealed weapon in any state.
The National Concealed Carry Reciprocity Amendment, supported by the National Rifle Association and other gun advocacy groups, is moving forward in Congress and could be voted on as early as this week. The author of the proposed legislation, also known as the Constitutional Concealed Carry Act, is Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas).
“This amendment will seriously undermine New York’s strict gun laws, putting residents and law enforcement in harm’s way,” Schumer said on Sunday. “Given the gun violence we see all over our nation, it’s disheartening that some want to amend the gun safety legislation in such a way that would ultimately allow individuals to carry guns virtually anywhere in the country.”
Although the state Supreme Court snubbed a case introduced by gun advocacy groups from Westchester on Monday that argued against the legality of New York’s newest gun control laws, several lawmakers across the area are concerned about recognizing concealed carry permits from states with looser gun regulations.
Those opposing the amendment are also concerned about how it would complicate the law enforcement process since there is no national database that could verify permits granted by other states.
State Sen. Michael Gianaris (D-Astoria) strongly opposes the amendment, saying the proposal “must be defeated.”
“Recent tragedies should inspire us to strengthen our gun laws, not weaken them,” Gianaris said. “For the NRA and its allies to use these awful incidents to advance their pro-gun agenda is the height of cruelty and cynicism.”
While it is illegal to carry an out-of-state concealed weapon in New York without a city permit, gun rights advocacy groups are trying to work with lawmakers to create a national database that would distinguish lawful gun owners in an attempt to allow the passing of the amendment.
Supporters of the amendment believe the measure would prevent the arrests of out-of-state lawful gun owners who are not familiar with state and city legislation, citing the arrest of Tennessee native Meredith Graves at the 9/11 Memorial in 2011 after she tried to check her weapon with law enforcement.
In a more recent case, pro boxer Robert Guerrero of California faces a felony charge for allegedly bringing a gun in a locked box to Kennedy International Airport and presenting it to a check-in agent. Until the state tightened gun regulations after the Sandy Hook School massacre, the charge would have been a misdemeanor.
“Somebody who has a concealed carry permit should be able to carry it wherever they want,” said Tom King, president of the New York State Rifle Association, an affiliate of the NRA. “There are people who, because they don’t know any better, make some decisions and support legislation without the proper knowledge to make it.”
According to Schumer’s office, approximately 900 mayors, nearly 100 from New York State, oppose national concealed carry reciprocity.