Shootings Down Amid House Passage Of Reciprocity Act

Source: Queens Gazette

By Richard Gentilviso

There have been 51 fewer murders, 212 fewer shooting incidents and 247 fewer shooting victims citywide in 2017 through December 10, according to the latest NYPD CompStat numbers.

“New York State, as a whole, has stronger gun safety laws than the rest of the country,” said Adam Skaggs, Chief Counsel for the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, in an October 4 New York Times report. According to Skaggs, New York City has its own gun laws, making the state one of the few allowing municipal gun statutes.

The permit to carry a handgun in the city requires a 17-page license application, supporting documents and a personal interview by the NYPD and there are 41,162 people with a license to possess a firearm in the city.

Security guards, people with their own businesses and homeowners account for about 22,500 of those licenses and excepting retired law enforcement officers, fewer than 2,500 people have full-carry permits allowing them to carry a handgun anywhere in the city. But that could soon change.

On December 6, H.R. 38, The Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017, was passed by a vote of 231-198 in the House of Representatives less than one year after Rep. Richard Hudson (R-North Carolina) introduced the legislation.

The bill has now moved to the U.S. Senate where it has been referred to the Judiciary Committee.

The act, if additionally passed by the Senate and signed into law by the President, would allow any person with a concealed carry permit from one state to carry their weapon in any other state.

“Under this bill, someone who couldn’t get a concealed carry permit in New York would all of a sudden be able to carry a concealed gun in New York City, as long as they have a permit from another state,” said Congress Member Carolyn Maloney (D-New York 12) in a December 6 press release after H.R. 38 was approved.

Recognizing “a dangerous and unwarranted interference with state and city laws,” NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill and all five city district attorneys urged Congress to reject the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act back in April.

“We do not want our highly effective gun laws superseded, overturned or interfered with,” said Commissioner O’Neill in an April 4 press release. “We will fight any federal action that will bring more guns to the streets of New York City.”

“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,” said Queens District Attorney Richard Brown in the release.

“New York has some of the most effective gun safety laws in the country,” said Maloney in her release. “But our efforts to keep our residents safe from gun violence would be eviscerated by this bill, which would put everyone at the mercy of the weakest gun laws in the country.”

Not everyone agrees. The National Rifle Association’s Institute for Legislative Action (NRA-ILA) said in a December 7 press release, “With (its December 6) vote, the U.S. Congress ratified the premise that firearms in the hands of law-abiding Americans are a force for good. This has, of course, been borne out again and again over the past three decades, as more and more Americans have embraced their right to bear arms for self-defense through concealed carry. The nation’s violent crime rate has fallen to historic lows during this time, and concealed carry licensees have proven themselves one of the most law-abiding populations in America.”

The murder rate in highly regulated New York City has dropped by 85 percent since 1990, and is down 16 percent through December 10 this year. Commissioner O’Neill, in a December 4 press release noting the fewest murders and shooting incidents recorded for any November, cited a different reason than the NRA’s for the historic drops in crime.

“As we stand on the verge of a record-shattering year, Neighborhood Policing continues to deepen relationships between our communities and the NYPD. The enhanced trust and shared responsibility that come from these relationships will only drive crime lower.”

Notably, 2017 has also been the deadliest year for mass shootings in U.S. history with at least 112 murdered in mass shooting tragedies to date.

Maloney, a strong supporter of gun safety legislation, said, “We have a gun violence epidemic in this country and it is glaringly obvious to anyone paying attention that our pathetically weak federal gun safety laws need major improvements. It’s far past time for Congress to stand up to the NRA and enact sensible gun safety laws, not tear them down.”