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Another Voice: Legislation would allow more guns to enter New York

By Paul McQuillen

Rep. Chris Collins, R-Clarence, is co-sponsoring legislation to pre-empt New York State law and permit the concealed carrying of firearms by civilian non-residents.

The proposed federal concealed-carry legislation would severely undermine New York’s concealed-carry licensing laws – allowing out-of-state visitors to carry concealed firearms in New York, even though they have not met the same standards for carrying a concealed weapon that our residents must meet. We don’t need Washington interfering.

Collins’ proposal usurps individual states’ rights and local concealed-carry laws. Not all states require secondary-market background checks or safety training before issuing a concealed-carry permit. New York does not recognize concealed-carry licenses of any other state, nor do 10 other states. That state right should not be abrogated by the federal government.

Because of New York’s safe, sane, sensible gun laws, our state now ranks third best in the nation in gun homicide rate. In fact, about 65 percent of guns used in crime in New York come from other states. Why subject New York to more out-of-state guns?

Further, federal pre-emption of New York’s concealed-carry law could create life-threatening situations for law enforcement officers. It would be virtually impossible for police to verify the validity of 50 state carry permits, requiring officers to make split-second decisions for their own safety in sometimes tense and dangerous situations.

We need fewer guns on our streets, not more. “It’s a nightmare for New York law enforcement,” said Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y. “In 20 states you can have a repeated history of mental health police visits and you can get a gun. You can have a domestic violence record. In many states, people subject to emergency orders of protection can be allowed to carry.”

In 19 states a convicted criminal can get a concealed-carry permit. In Mississippi, one only needs to apply to receive a concealed-carry permit. In Virginia, an online course can get you a license. Utah will issue a concealed-carry license to out-of-staters online; that license is then recognized in 32 other states. Many states do not even require license renewal after receipt of the original license.

Pax Christi WNY, Back to Basics Outreach Ministries and Stop the Violence Coalition, along with many individuals, gun-owners included, oppose this legislation, which would pre-empt state law and allow the concealed-carry of weapons in New York by out-of-state gun owners.

Join New Yorkers Against Gun Violence (nyagv.org) and tell Collins that he was elected to represent us, not the NRA and the corporate gun lobby.

Paul McQuillen is upstate and Western New York coordinator of New Yorkers Against Gun Violence.