Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act

By Steve Hasou

The House of Representatives has passed a bill that could remove borders on gun control. The Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act will let people travel throughout the United States with gun permits offered by their home state. Laws in states vary and can make traveling complicated, especially with the growing number of individuals with concealed carry permits. The act will remove any restrictions on travelers carrying firearms across state lines. It will limit which types of firearms are transported and the individual must hold proper licenses in the first case.

With the number of terror attacks and violent acts increasing, some law enforcement officials are frightened by the leniency of this bill. They believe giving residents from states with less strict gun laws the ability to enter states like New York or Chicago will ultimately lead to miscommunications between the individuals and law enforcement.

Jimmy Olsen, a 5-year veteran with the NYPD, has his doubts about the bill. “I think that this will be a tough sell, especially for the amount of safety precautious we (NYPD) take,” said Olsen. “The gun laws in New York are strict, but with all the violence in the world, I wouldn’t want to see someone from like Texas come here with the amount of arsenal and go crazy.”

For some New Yorkers, it is unsettling. Amy Sayegh, 24, says finds it nerve-racking to know that the political leaders would think of passing such a bill.

“It’s scary not knowing who has a firearm on them,” said Sayegh. “I walk in the city basically every day. Knowing more people will be able to carry a gun legally if this bill passes is a nightmare.”

Opponents of the bill argue that the free flow of guns threatens their communities. Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman and a combination of 17 attorneys general sent a letter of opposition to House and Senate officials.

“What’s right for one state is not right for all,” said Attorney General Schneiderman in a statement. “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.” Schneiderman also addressed the risk of injury or death to law enforcement.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, gun deaths rose in 2016 to 12 per 100,000 people, which is one more than the previous year.

The NYPD has changed its stop-and-frisk policy under the leadership of Mayor Bill de Blasio. It has dramatically decreased the number of stops. Law enforcement officials say that this could make it easier for individuals to successfully hide multiple firearms.

W. Rodriguez, 41, 15-year veteran with the NYPD, says tough guns laws are in place for the protection of not only the men and women in uniform, but the citizens they protect. Working in the Bronx area, he has been on school safety and patrol force.

“I like that New York has strict gun laws, but that’s not always effective,” said Rodriguez. “Just look at Chicago. If this bill was to go through, it means anyone can get a permit from a state with less strict laws and come to a stricter state like New York and continue to carry based off that state or cause a violent act. Its just scary.”

The House of Representatives passed the bill, 231-198, with 14 Republicans voting no, and six Democrats voting yes. The bill has been given to the Senate to pass or modify what is already written. Once both the House of Representatives and the Senate come to a mutually agreed bill, it will need President Trump’s final approval.

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