Congresswoman Nita Lowey (D-Westchester/Rockland) was joined today by Westchester County mayors, law enforcement officials, and gun safety advocates in calling on the U.S. Senate and President Obama to prevent dangerous federal legislation invalidating New York gun safety measures from becoming law.
"Our state has strong and appropriate laws preventing violent individuals from gaining permits to carry concealed firearms," said Lowey. "This is critical for the safety of both law enforcement and the general public. It is outrageous that instead of focusing on America's top priority -- job creation -- the Republican majority is spending its time on divisive efforts to invalidate common-sense restrictions states like New York have imposed on gun possession by violent residents of other states."
The National Right-to-Carry Reciprocity Act, passed last week by the U.S. House of Representatives despite the opposition of Lowey and others, would force states that issue permits to carry concealed weapons to recognize any concealed carry gun permit issued by another state, even if that individual has a violent record making him or her ineligible for a permit under New York laws. This act would endanger New Yorkers by:
· allowing the loosest laws in the country for concealed weapons to supersede New York's common sense gun safety laws;
· preventing law enforcement from knowing who is allowed to carry a concealed weapon, and;
· facilitating illegal gun trafficking across state borders.
Currently, 30 states recognize the concealed carry permits of other states. New York does not have any reciprocity agreements.
"In most states, if you've been convicted of assault, or haven't completed a gun safety training program, you can't carry a concealed, loaded gun in public," said Mayors Against Illegal Guns co-chair Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg. "This bill would override those laws and make communities across the country less safe, which is why so many police and law enforcement organizations strongly oppose it, and why our bipartisan coalition of mayors is committed to stopping it."
"This misguided legislation would undermine the critical work of our Police Department and place residents throughout New York at greater risk of gun violence from those who have no business carrying concealed weapons," said New Rochelle Mayor Noam Bramson. "It's outrageous that the House majority would sweep away our rights as New Yorkers to enforce common sense gun safety standards."
"National Concealed Carry Reciprocity represents a real danger to public safety by undermining the ability of states with strong gun laws like New York to keep those from other states with weak permitting standards from carrying in our state. A broad coalition of groups, including Mayors, law enforcement, faith leaders and domestic violence advocates all oppose this legislation, which was defeated in the Senate in 2009," said Andy Pelosi, director of GunFreeKids.org.
Due to the threat this legislation poses to law enforcement and other New Yorkers, Lowey has called on the U.S. Senate not to act on the bill and reject the act if a vote is forced. Should the Senate pass this bill, Lowey is urging President Obama to use his veto power.
Lowey said, "I stand with over 600 mayors, police organizations, and domestic violence organizations in strong opposition to this legislation that threatens New Yorkers' safety and usurps our state's ability to make and enforce its own laws."