Politics

Local Lawmakers Oppose Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act

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Local lawmakers spoke out strongly against the House passage of the Concealed Carry Reciprocity act, which would force New York to allow out-of-staters to carry concealed weapons in the city.

The Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017 would force states that allow the concealed carry of handguns to recognize permits issued in other states—including those which have more relaxed stances on gun control than NYC.

“This bill would undermine the hard work that dedicated activists, community organizations, and legislators like myself are doing locally to combat gun violence,” wrote City Councilmember Jumaane Williams (D-45) in a statement condemning the decision. Williams, representing East Flatbush, is co-chair of the Council’s Task Force to Combat Gun Violence

“In collaboration with local law enforcement, we have managed to meaningfully reduce shootings in New York, making it the safest large city in the United States,” Williams continued.

Many lawmakers have expressed their opposition to the bill, including Acting Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez. “This disastrous bill would jeopardize the safety of New York City residents and could put law enforcement in harm’s way,” he said. “This legislation is a terrible idea and it must be defeated.”

New York has stringent rules for concealed carry, which Gonzalez characterized as “strict and common sense regulations.“ Other states, which have “shall” issue instead of “may” issue clauses regarding concealed carry permits, are much more permissive.

Another concern is the difficulty law enforcement officers may have determining the validity of an out-of-state concealed carry permit—especially when there is no national database.

New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman also released a statement in strong opposition to the vote:

“Today, the House voted to strip New York law enforcement of their right to enforce common sense policies that keep New Yorkers safe from the scourge of gun violence.

New York has some of the strongest gun laws in the country. This bill could return New York to the bad old days, by rolling back the protections that have reduced gun-related deaths in New York State to some of the lowest rates in the nation.”

Earlier this week, the NYPD released crime statistics that show the city is on track to have fewer than 300 murders this year—a historic milestone. Even with markedly more residents, crime is down to levels unseen since the 1950s.

Many see the efforts of the federal government in passing concealed carry reciprocity as a threat to New York’s trend of safety. Senator Chuck Schumer expressed such feelings earlier this year.

Here in Brooklyn, it seems counterintuitive to those who advocate for communities historically beset by gun violence. “We are working tirelessly every day, motivated by the  goal of saving lives,” said Jumaane Williams. “To those who support this legislation, I would ask: what are your motives?”

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