Members of Prosecutors Against Gun Violence Join Call to Reject Concealed Carry Reciprocity Following Launch of Coalition to Defend and Enhance Strong State and Local Gun Laws
Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., New York City Police Commissioner James P. O’Neill, Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer, and New York State Assembly Member Brian Kavanagh today were joined by law enforcement leaders and lawmakers from across the U.S. to urge Congress to reject the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act pending in the House and Senate. As detailed in a recent Wall Street Journal op-ed co-authored by District Attorney Vance and Commissioner O’Neill, the legislation, which requires New York City and State to honor concealed-carry firearms permits issued in other states, represents a dangerous and unwarranted interference with state and city laws.
District Attorney Vance and City Attorney Feuer are co-chairs and co-founders of Prosecutors Against Gun Violence (PAGV), a non-partisan coalition which today concluded its fifth national summit. Yesterday, PAGV and American State Legislators for Gun Violence Prevention announced a multi-state effort to enact state legislation in two key areas: Extreme Risk Protection Orders, and removing guns from domestic abusers.
“Concealed carry reciprocity is an attack on local law enforcement, and an attack on local laws,” said District Attorney Vance. “The same laws that apply to rural areas should not apply to urban areas with millions of people and thousands of police. As we work to keep gun crime at a historic low in New York City, we will not tolerate subways packed with pistols or shootouts in Times Square. We have gathered law enforcement officials from red states and blue states, and from jurisdictions large and small, to say that we will oppose any federal action that lets visitors bring guns to our streets. We will fight the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act in the halls of Congress, and if necessary we will fight it in the courts. I would like to thank our partners in law enforcement that joined us today, and to all of those that continue to speak out against this dangerous legislation. We have to promote and defend strong gun laws, now more than ever. I am pleased to collaborate with state and local officials working to prevent gun violence across the country.”
Police Commissioner James P. O’Neill said: “This legislation will make New York City less safe and our job as law enforcement significantly harder. We do not want our highly effective gun laws superseded, overturned or interfered with. We will fight any federal action that bring more guns into the streets of New York City.”
Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer, co-founder and co-chair of Prosecutors Against Gun Violence, said: “Local officials know best what it takes to make their communities safe, including who should be allowed to carry a concealed weapon. The Constitutional Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act would undermine important local safeguards that protect the public.”
New York Assemblymember Brian Kavanagh, Chair of American State Legislators of Gun Violence Prevention, said: “State and local legislators, prosecutors, and law enforcement across the country have been working diligently in enacting and implementing laws and policies to prevent gun violence and keep our communities safe. It would be outrageous for the Trump administration, the gun industry, and their allies in Congress to endanger all Americans by imposing a weak, chaotic hodgepodge of ineffective standards on every state. I’m proud to join prosecutors and law enforcement officers, who would bear the brunt of the burden of this disastrous federal mandate, in adamantly opposing it.”
Bronx District Attorney Darcel D. Clark said: “We have pleaded with Congress for years to help stop the flow of illegal guns into New York from states with notoriously lax gun laws. This proposed bill would open the floodgates of people packing firearms on City streets, exponentially increasing potential risks to the public, as well as to the brave men and women of the New York Police Department and other law enforcement agencies. This legislation allows for national gun control laws to be dictated by those states with the least-strict gun control laws. It undercuts our tireless efforts to stem injuries and deaths from firearms.”
Acting Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez said: “We have worked too hard driving down gun violence to allow passage of this bill, which would be disastrous for Brooklyn. We’ve been vigorously prosecuting out-of-state gun traffickers to stop the flow of illegal guns from states with lax gun laws. It would be a sad irony if people who obtained permits through these same lax gun laws were allowed to carry their concealed weapons in New York City, bypassing our strict background checks and other common sense regulations. This legislation is a terrible idea and it must be defeated.”
Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown said: “As prosecutors and law enforcement officials, it is imperative that we join together and be heard as one in denouncing the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act. For the last twenty years, New Yorkers have witnessed a historical and dramatic drop in violent crime, due in large measure to having among the toughest gun control laws in the nation. The enactment of the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act has the strong potential of undoing the City’s downward trend in crime by allowing individuals with weapon permits from states with lax gun laws to carry a concealed weapon on our streets, putting both our police and our citizens at risk. We must do all within our power to see that this does not come to pass.”
Staten Island District Attorney Michael E. McMahon said: “I strongly oppose any federal action that undermines New York’s sovereignty and would undermine the safety of our neighborhoods by allowing out-of-state permit holders to bring guns into our community. It undermines our efforts in law-enforcement to fight gun crime here on Staten Island and throughout the City as the flood of guns will pose a serious risk to our families. I want to thank D.A. Vance and Commissioner O’Neill for their leadership in keeping our streets safer and am proud to join them as part of Prosecutors Against Gun violence.”
Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas said: “Proposed concealed carry reciprocity legislation will invite the mentally ill, suspected terrorists, and others who can carry a concealed weapon in states with weak gun laws to bring a hidden gun into New York schools, churches, or bars and cause bloodshed in our communities. If this legislation is enacted, our gun laws will be only as strong as the weakest state, squandering years of progress and endangering lives. I am proud to stand with my colleagues in strong opposition to this dangerous legislation.”
Suffolk County District Attorney (Boston, MA) Daniel F. Conley said: “Massachusetts has the lowest rate of gun deaths in the country because of sensible legislation and effective enforcement. Concealed carry reciprocity would effectively gut those protections by extending the woefully inadequate permitting standards of some other states into our communities. More than 60% of Massachusetts crime guns are brought in from out of state, and the last thing we need in Boston and Suffolk County is more of them.”
Cook County State’s Attorney (Chicago, IL) Kimberly M. Foxx said: “The eligibility criteria and level of review required to obtain a concealed carry permit are essential questions of public safety for every state to consider for itself. Forcing jurisdictions to accept the concealed carry rules of other jurisdictions – even from states whose rules may be much more lax and susceptible to fraud or abuse – undermines the ability of each community to decide for itself how to address this critical public safety issue.”
Shelby County District Attorney General (Memphis, TN) Amy Weirich said: “The CCR would be a tremendous step backward for the safety of citizens in every state of the union. This legislation creates a forum-shopping environment for dangerous or questionable owners to bypass strong concealed-carry laws in one state for weaker laws in another state. This is a bill that everyone, especially responsible gun owners, should oppose.”
Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act:
The Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act (CCRA), federal legislation introduced in the House and Senate in early 2017, would require states to recognize the concealed carry permits of gun owners from all other states. The version of the bill pending in the House would also override state law prohibitions against carrying guns into bars and schools, and allow a person who has been denied a concealed carry permit in his home state to obtain one from another state and then carry back home.
What CCRA Means for New York:
This legislation would supersede New York’s strong – and effective – gun laws. State gun laws vary widely across the U.S. Some states issue permits to convicted felons, people wanted on warrants, and those subject to orders of protection. Twelve states do not require permits at all – meaning that residents of those states may carry weapons in New York without ever having a background check. Additionally, many states have no effective procedures to identify people who commit crimes after being granted concealed-carry permits or to revoke their gun privileges. That means that even if New York City deemed someone too dangerous to carry a gun based on his or her criminal history, that person could walk around the city with a firearm using documentation or privileges from another state.
How It Affects Public Safety in New York City:
The CCRA would be a dangerous and unwarranted interference with our laws, undermining public safety in some of America’s most celebrated neighborhoods and tourist attractions. A resident of New York easily could travel to another state, acquire a permit, and return to New York authorized to carry a gun. There is no national database of state permits, so checking the validity of out-of-state permits – which may well be falsely acquired, forged, revoked or expired – would be impractical, if not impossible. Furthermore, we are constantly working to combat gun trafficking by criminals who bring firearms purchased in states with loose gun laws – particularly Iron Pipeline states – into New York City. If New York is required to acknowledge out-of-state permits, combatting gun trafficking would be even more difficult.
Empowering States to Prevent Gun Violence:
Yesterday, Prosecutors Against Gun Violence (PAGV), members of American State Legislators for Gun Violence Prevention (ASLGVP), and the Law Enforcement Partnership to Prevent Gun Violence announced a multi-state effort to enact state legislation in two key areas:
- Proposals in 20 states to create Extreme Risk Protection Orders, which enable family and law enforcement to prevent gun tragedies by petitioning a court to temporarily restrict access to firearms for individuals who are at risk of hurting themselves or others.
- Bills in 5 states to enact stronger laws aimed at removing guns from domestic abusers.
Both initiatives are based on strong empirical evidence from experts in gun violence and public health regarding circumstances that lead to a heightened risk of gun violence, and practical steps that can be taken to prevent it.