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National gun rights bill could be public threat

Cyril Josh Barker | 12/14/2017, 1:17 p.m.
Fallout continues over Congress’ passage of House Bill 38, the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act.

Fallout continues over Congress’ passage of House Bill 38, the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act. The bill requires all states to recognize concealed carry permits granted by other states, and allow the concealed transport of handguns across state lines, so long as it is allowed by both states and allows permit holders to carry a concealed weapon in school zones.

Gun rights advocates, including the National Rifle Association, are praising the bill they say allows citizens to use their guns for protection.

“This would end abuses in anti-gun states like California, New York and New Jersey and allow law-abiding concealed carriers to exercise their rights nationwide with peace of mind,” the NRA said in a statement. “The primary effect of the bill would be that a handful of anti-gun states could no longer arrest and prosecute travelers simply for crossing into their territory with an otherwise lawfully carried concealed handgun.”

However, antigun and antiviolence advocates say that the bill’s passage is putting the public in danger. In New York, politicians and city officials are voicing their outrage and highlighting that the outcome could be deadly.

Those opposed in New York say the legislation would supersede the state’s current gun laws. State gun laws vary widely across the U.S. Some states issue permits to convicted felons through loopholes in background check laws, to convicted violent misdemeanants, to people wanted on warrants and to those subject to orders of protection.

Twelve states do not require permits at all, meaning that residents of those states might carry concealed weapons in New York without ever having a background check or meeting any other safety requirements.

“Any measures that would contribute to the increase of firearms in New York could only jeopardize the level of safety that New Yorkers have benefited from through effective gun control,” said NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill. “This proposed bill creates a real risk to public safety.”

In New York City, a resident could travel to another state with more lenient laws, acquire a permit and return to the city authorized to carry a concealed weapon. Advocates also say the CCRA would contribute to the “Iron Pipeline,” allowing criminals who bring firearms purchased in states with loose gun laws to enter the city.

“It is a clear and present danger to allow everyone who visits from a gun-friendly state to carry a firearm in such a densely populated area as New York City,” said Bronx District Attorney Darcel Clark. “What may be safe in rural states not safe in a major urban area.”

Brooklyn Council Member Jumaane Williams said that the recent mass shootings should have been a wake-up call for Congress to not pass the CCRA. He added that too much work is being done on the community level to prevent gun violence.

“This bill would undermine the hard work that dedicated activists, community organizations and legislators like myself are doing locally to combat gun violence,” he said. “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.”