DA Vance, First Deputy Police Commissioner Benjamin Tucker, Bronx DA Clark, Nassau County DA Singas Join Advocates in Times Square to Urge Congress to Denounce Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act

December 6, 2017

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., New York City First Deputy Police Commissioner Benjamin Tucker, Bronx District Attorney Darcel Clark, and Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas today were joined by representatives from New Yorkers Against Gun Violence at a news conference in Times Square to urge Congress to reject the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act (CCRA) pending in the House and Senate. The U.S. House of Representatives is expected to vote on the legislation today. 

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., said: “The Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act reveals a shocking disregard for the lives of law enforcement officers across the country and the communities we are sworn to protect. By allowing people with dangerous histories and no training to carry loaded, concealed weapons across state lines, CCRA would impose weak gun laws on all 50 states.”

NYPD Commissioner James P. O’Neill said: “New York City’s well-recognized success in the continued decrease in shootings and murder is in no small part a result of effective control of guns on our streets. 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. This proposed bill creates a real risk to public safety.”

Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who led a coalition of 17 State Attorneys General in opposition to the legislation, said: “What’s right for one state is not right for all. This lowest-common-denominator approach would undermine states’ basic responsibility to protect our communities – including by determining who may carry a concealed, loaded gun within our borders. After each tragedy we lament the loopholes in our federal gun laws; it’s vital that we not create another one. This legislation would risk the lives of our families and our law enforcement officers, while facilitating gun trafficking and promoting mass violence – and it should be swiftly rejected.”

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.”

Bronx District Attorney Darcel D. Clark said: “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. What may be safe in rural states not safe in a major urban area. We have the toughest gun control laws in the nation for good reason, and the passage of the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act is counterproductive to our efforts to decrease gun violence.”

Acting Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez said: “This disastrous bill would jeopardize the safety of New York City residents and could put law enforcement in harm’s way. We have been vigorously prosecuting out of state gun traffickers in Brooklyn to stop the flow of illegal guns from states with lax gun laws. It would be a tragic irony if people who obtained permits through these same lax gun laws were allowed to carry their concealed weapons in our city, bypassing our strict and common sense regulations. This legislation is a terrible idea and it must be defeated.”

Staten Island District Attorney Michael E. McMahon said: “The Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act both threatens the safety of the men and women in law enforcement who proudly protect our communities every day and directly undermines our efforts to combat gun violence. At a time when New York boasts some of the most significant drops in violent crime, this brash and misguided legislation has the potential to reverse that trend as it will make it easier for people with criminal histories to carry dangerous firearms on our streets. I join my partners in law enforcement across the nation in denouncing this bill, and I implore our leaders in Congress to reject it in all its forms and to work with Prosecutors Against Gun Violence to enact legislation that keeps law enforcement and those they are sworn to protect safe from harm.”

Westchester County District Attorney Anthony A. Scarpino, Jr said: “Prosecutors and law enforcement alike stand united in opposition of the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act. It is dangerous legislation that forces states to recognize carry permits issued in other states, and threatens the safety of law enforcement officers everywhere. Common sense must prevail and clearly, this law would be a significant step backwards in our efforts to make our streets safe.”

Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas said: “The Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act is a reckless bill that undermines New York’s strong gun laws and makes our streets less safe. Many states have almost no restrictions on carrying a concealed weapon, and anyone with a permit would be able to walk into Times Square or our busy Long Island shopping malls with a hidden gun. This bill would compromise the safety of our officers, impede their ability to police effectively, and endanger every single New Yorker. Gun violence destroys families and rips apart communities; it takes the lives of innocent children, mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers. As District Attorneys, we see these horrors up close, and we are united in our opposition to this dangerous bill.”

Everytown for Gun Safety President John Feinblatt said: “Carrying the NRA’s water, members of Congress want to sneak in a vote on ‘concealed carry reciprocity’ and eviscerate state gun laws. To do it, they’re hijacking a modest, bipartisan proposal that would help improve the background check system. It’s outrageous. ‘Concealed carry reciprocity’ is a poison pill, and Congress should listen to the American people and reject it.”

New Yorkers Against Gun Violence Executive Director Rebecca Fischer said: “It is an outrage that members of Congress are backing the gun lobby’s dangerous agenda rather than protecting the American people. The Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act would weaken our strong gun safety laws and allow individuals with records of violence and no training to carry hidden, loaded guns in New York’s public spaces—from Times Square to Niagara Falls.  New York has one of the lowest gun death and injury rates in the country and we cannot allow other states’ lax standards to endanger our communities and our law enforcement.  We applaud New York’s prosecutors and police officials for their unwavering leadership and for opposing this dangerous legislation.”

Metro Industrial Areas Foundation Citizens’ Organizing Network Leader, Rabbi Joel Mosbacher said: “Common sense tells you that state and local governments must have the power to restrict who gets to carry loaded guns in public places. This reckless proposal, which should be called the Bring Your Guns to Times Square Act, would strip them of that right. We can’t think of a clearer loyalty test for every Member of Congress. Who do you care more about — your constituents, local police, and public safety? Or Wayne LaPierre, Ted Nugent and other fringe elements in the NRA?”

Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act: 

The Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act, 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 through loopholes in background check laws, convicted violent misdemeanants, 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 concealed weapons in New York without ever having a background check or meeting any other safety requirements. Additionally, many states have no effective procedures to identify people who commit crimes after being granted concealed carry permits or to revoke their firearms 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 concealed 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 with more lenient laws, acquire a permit, and return to New York authorized to carry a concealed weapon – even though he would have been prohibited under New York law from doing so. 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. 

What CCRA Means for Law Enforcement:

Police chiefs and sheriffs across the country oppose the CCRA because, in addition to broadly undermining public safety, it specifically endangers the lives of their officers. This bill would turn interactions with out-of-state visitors, such as routine traffic stops, into dangerous situations for officers and civilians. Traffic stops, already unpredictable and dangerous, would become more stressful for police if they are confronted with hundreds of thousands of visitors from states with lower concealed carry standards and forced to anticipate the presence of a concealed firearm by visitors. CCRA would force officers to make spilt-second decisions for their own safety and would increase the danger to all involved in the traffic stop.

The current House version of the bill places an even greater burden on law enforcement by introducing the threat of personal liability should the officer mistakenly question a person’s legal authority to possess a concealed firearm. Even asking for proof of a concealed weapons permit would be enough to open law enforcement professionals to being personally sued. This places too great of a burden on law enforcement, which would be deterred from effectively doing their jobs—placing our public safety at risk.

Because of the dangers that this legislation poses to civilians and officers, many organizations have spoken out vocally against it over the past several years, including: the Association of Prosecuting Attorneys, the Fraternal Order of Police, the International Association of Chiefs of Police, Major Cities Chiefs of Police Association, the Police Foundation, the Police Executive Research Forum, and a coalition of 17 Attorneys General.