Sun’s Out, Guns Out: How A New Bill Could Change New York Gun Laws Forever

(Photo Courtesy of Pixabay)

(Photo Courtesy of Pixabay)

Earlier this year, a new bill was introduced into the House and Senate that could throw New York’s system of concealed carry weapon enforcement into chaos.

In New York, residents can become licensed gun owners if they are 21 years old, a U.S. citizen, and are not convicted of any felony, do not use controlled substances, have suffered from mental illness or have been discharged from the Army, among other requirements.  The laws, however, regarding concealed carry—who can own them, what it takes to get them and where gun owners can carry their concealed weapons—vary by state.

Some states, like California, require proof of responsible ownership alongside an extensive vetting process, while other states, like Arizona and Oklahoma, boast markedly lax permit laws, where some residents can carry concealed weapons without a license at all. States have always decided upon their own concealed carry regulations, but that may be about to change.

The Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act, also known as H.R. 38, was introduced January 12 by Rep. Richard Hudson (R- North Carolina) and boasts 188 co-sponsors at the moment, 185 of them Republican.  H.R. 38 would amend the federal criminal code to allow a qualified individual to carry a concealed weapon outside of their state of registration, provided that second state also allows for concealed carry.

Concealed carry regulations between these two states don’t necessarily have to be equal, though, which means individuals could obtain permits in states where policies are lax, then move to states boasting greater stringency without being subject to those added restrictions.

This is precisely what Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr. and New York City Police Commissioner James P. O’Neill fear. In a press release distributed earlier this month the pair, among others, they urged Congress to reject the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act.

“Concealed carry reciprocity is an attack on local law enforcement, and an attack on local laws,” said 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… to say that we will oppose any federal action that lets visitors bring guns to our streets.”

Some gun rights protection groups in the state disagree with the officials. Vincent Cristiano heads the 300-strong New York State Concealed Carry Advocacy Facebook Group, where for over a year he’s fostered discussions and shared material on gun rights in New York.

To him, the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act isn’t about allowing for greater gun violence, but about recognizing the good guys who carry guns, a group he believes has long been excluded from the conversation.

“People aren’t coming to New York to rob a convenience store or kill someone,” he said. “They’re not looking for trouble, but the media convolutes the issue to instill fear.”

Cristiano believes gun owners carry concealed weapons for self-defense. It’s why he’s registered to carry a concealed gun in his home of Suffolk County, and why he’d like his daughter in Florida to register for the same. Christiano, a 56-year-old technical consultant, says there should be greater emphasis on the mental health of gun owners and rigorous training for potential gun owners should also be provided if needed. More than anything, though, he thinks the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act could actually bring safety to the streets of New York.

“There’s always gonna be violence,” he said. “But with more people randomly armed, criminals will be leery and less apt to commit crimes since someone in the crowd could have a gun.”

That kind of argument doesn’t impress Mark D. Jones, project director at The National Law Enforcement Partnership to Prevent Gun Violence, who believes the act would be disastrous for public safety. “Guns in the hands of people don’t make them safer,” he said. “It puts them at greater risk.”

He doesn’t think more armed citizens will do much to deter public crime. “Trained police officers don’t even hit their target much of the time. How will a citizen hit the target in Times Square, or in a crowded subway?” added Jones, a former supervisory agent at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

A 2009 study cited by the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence supports Jones’ argument. It suggests that carrying a firearm may increase a victim’s risk of firearm injury during the commission of a crime.

“States with the strictest regulations will be subject to the weakest laws in the country,” Jones said. It would also generate a huge pressure on law enforcement, he said, citing a portion of the bill that attaches civil liability to law enforcement officers for questioning a non-resident with a concealed carry permit.  “It’s the NRA’s wet dream.”

Jones believes the proposed bill is a bid by the NRA to create new market opportunities for firearm sales since stock prices of gun companies has dropped since President Trump’s election. President Trump’s promises to safeguard gun rights removed the sense of urgency many gun owners felt to buy firearms under the Obama administration, resulting in a general decline in sales, according to The Washington Post.

It’s the first time the NRA has pushed for federal laws regarding firearms, and for now Jones and others are playing the waiting game. It’s a critical time for gun rights- across the nation, several high-profile landmark cases are exploring the legality of concealed carry weapons. One such case is Peruta vs. San Diego, a California lawsuit that challenges restrictions on residents carrying concealed weapons outside of their homes.

The case evaluates whether the Second Amendment protects citizens’ right to carry a concealed weapon in public. California, in particular, requires approval from the sheriff’s department for each resident applying for a permit, provided they have “good cause” for such an application. Edward Peruta, a Vietnam veteran, found his application denied for that very reason, hence the lawsuit.

It will be argued before the Supreme Court in the coming weeks, where newly appointed justice Neil Gorsuch has just wrapped up his first week on the Bench. Gorsuch, appointed by President Trump to replace Justice Antonin Scalia after Scalia’s death in 2016, will help set the precedent for several landmark cases, Peruta vs. San Diego among them.

It’s cases like this one that could be rendered victim to a national standard for concealed carry, regardless of extenuating circumstances. That’s the power the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act holds.

The bill has yet to pass the House or Senate, but Jones considers it a more measured approach than the last few concealed carry bills introduced in past years. At the end of the day, though, he believes there’s no one solution for all 50 states.

“Gun laws in dense, urban populations are very different from the open lands in Wyoming or Missouri,” Johns said. “It’s really up to the rational, reasonable people in New York who are in the position to decide what’s best.”

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7 Responses to "Sun’s Out, Guns Out: How A New Bill Could Change New York Gun Laws Forever"

  1. Al Carl  April 27, 2017 at 10:43 am

    Quotes in article from Mark D. Jones, project director at The National Law Enforcement Partnership to Prevent Gun Violence: “Guns in the hands of people don’t make them safer,” he said. “It puts them at greater risk” and “How will a citizen hit the target in Times Square, or in a crowded subway?”

    Mr. Jones, are you not aware that guns are already in these areas? By whom you may ask? Criminals.

    Concealed carry holders in NY state are not allowed to LEGALLY protect ourselves in a couple of situations where we would be the most vulnerable. Like carrying a legally registered firearm in New York City. The biggest city, in the state our concealed carry permits are issued from, and we’re unable to protect ourselves while there. Or what about when traveling out of state with our loved ones? We are unable to carry our legally registered firearm to protect our loved ones when out of state. Even though we may encounter criminals that have a firearm .

    The thought process (or lack thereof) of strict gun laws baffles me. The only people made safe by the NY SAFE act are criminals. For example, a law abiding citizen isn’t going to use a high capacity magazine. But are we really expected to believe that a criminal is not going to use a high capacity magazine? The law abiding citizens will load their 10 rounds, and hope and pray that if the need to protect themselves arises, the criminal only has 10 rounds too. What about “gun free zones?” A criminal isn’t going to say “I better turn around, this is a gun free zone.” But a law abiding citizen is. Why? Because law abiding citizens follow laws, but criminals do not.

    There should be stricter penalties, not stricter laws. This way, the people that deserve to be punished (criminals) are punished. Law abiding citizens should not be punished based on the actions of criminals.

    The bottom line is a criminal does not follow laws. Period. This is what makes them a criminal.
    A law abiding, firearm owning citizen DOES follow the laws. This is what makes them a victim.

    Reply
  2. Dick DiTullio  April 27, 2017 at 11:46 am

    We need more places like defensorinc.com where comprehensive training in firearms use is provided for the public as well as law enforcement and military groups.

    Reply
  3. Paul Strachocki  April 27, 2017 at 5:34 pm

    Some of the jurisdictions with the strictest gun laws have among the highest rates of gun crimes. Criminals, by definition do NOT care about laws. On the other hand, persons who carry concealed are among the most law abiding citizens in the country. If the gun is obtained legally through a dealer, they have to go through a Federal background check regardless of which state they call home.
    In places where concealed carry was legalized, many in opposition claimed that there would be “blood in the streets” and a re-enactment of the Wild West with gunfights on every street corner. Much to the dismay of those opponents, that did not happen.

    Reply
  4. John Thomson  April 28, 2017 at 6:40 pm

    Excuse me, when a CCW permit holder moves to another state, his or her license to carry is automatically revoked in the state from which he or she moved. That’s the law in California, and I believe in every other state.

    Reply
  5. Jimmy Rustles  May 5, 2017 at 2:44 pm

    “Gun laws in dense, urban populations are very different from the open lands in Wyoming or Missouri,” Johns said. “It’s really up to the rational, reasonable people in New York who are in the position to decide what’s best.”
    Is this why people of NYC, decide what we do in WNY? Is this why god awful SAFE act is passed, and our pistol permit process takes longer than me becoming a cop?

    Reply
  6. NK  May 19, 2017 at 2:06 pm

    Forget about CCW. How about just getting a pistol permit in the first place. With all the fervor of a Clinton administration, current wait times are approximately 13-14 months to get a pistol permit administered by Suffolk County from the time they receive your application. That includes having 4 signed affidavits by non-relatives in Suffolk sign to your mental well being, an interview, fingerprints, a background check, turning in paystubs, an interview of your spouse and more signed paperwork.

    As mentioned above, if law abiding citizens go through ALL OF THAT to get a permit, there should be no need for a CCW permit. Especially when you consider at the same time that I filled out the NYS paperwork, I took a NRA Basic Pistol course in NJ (since I can’t touch a pistol in NY), filled out the app and mailed in a check for a non-resident CCW Virginia permit. I received it approximately 4 months later.

    This bill will allow law abiding citizens the right to protect themselves and family without worrying about the patchwork of laws between states and as NY has, intrastate. As mentioned multiple times, criminals are not waiting over 1 year to get a pistol. They are buying them off of the street as needed.

    Reply
  7. Bill  May 21, 2017 at 1:12 pm

    DO the anti gun folks realize that the state of Florida issues the same license in Miami that it does in the cattle country of Florida’s interior?, many other states do the same. NY’s gun control was implemented in 1911 by “Big Tim” Sullivan, a corrupt Tammany Hall politician. He instituted thus law because his criminal cohorts were being stopped from robbing and threatening recent immigrants by their intended victims arming themselves. He was also threatened by the Ballot box, as his Poll watchers were used to running off folks who wouldn’t vote for him. Rival candidate’s Poll watchers armed themselves, to resist the thugs of Big Tim, and Tim couldn’t have that. NY has lived under this autocratic law for over 100 years, and NY’ers face crime at a ridiculous rate. Most Issuing agents will NOT issue a license except heavily restricted for “Target” only. NYC tells you “Hire a cop” if you think you need protection. Ridiculous.What other right do you have to beg to exercise? Your Marriage license is recognized throughout the land, as is your drivers license, neither of which are Constitutionally guaranteed- Why wouldn’t a CCW license?

    Reply

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