New York AG Takes On "Reciprocity" Gun Bill

Categories: Guns

As it currently stands, the Second Amendment guarantees U.S. citizens the right to own firearms. But each state is permitted to place its own restrictions on the types of firearms -- and the manner in which they're possessed -- that people are allowed to own.

A bill making its way through Congress would grant "reciprocity" for gun owners in states where they don't actually live. In other words, if you can carry a concealed handgun under Ohio law, an Ohio resident can carry a concealed weapon in New York -- regardless of New York's gun laws.

The bill is designed to keep gun owners from getting arrested in other states where gun laws might be different than they are in the state in which they live. But New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman ain't havin' it.

Schneiderman is leading a coalition of attorneys general who oppose "The National Right-to-Carry Reciprocity Act" and "The Respecting States Rights and Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act," which he says "would force states like New York, and the other co-signing states, to abandon their own gun laws by allowing out-of-state visitors to carry concealed firearms based on their home state's less safe laws, rather than those of the state they are entering."

In a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, the attorneys general expressed their concern that "the bill would restrict their states' ability to control who may and may not carry a concealed weapon within their borders, undermine the ability of police to verify the validity of gun permits, and allow gun traffickers to more easily bring illegal guns into their respective states.

"These two bills would force states to recognize concealed carry permits issued by any other states, even those with poor oversight and weaker permitting standards," the attorneys general wrote. "These bills would create a lowest common denominator approach to public safety that would endanger police and make it more difficult to prosecute gun traffickers."

Scheniderman says, that in 2011, about 68 percent of guns recovered in connection with crimes committed in New York State originally came from outside the state. That said, all of those guns found their way to New York without the help of a reciprocity law.

See the attorneys general's letter below.

The Honorable Harry Reid The Honorable Mitch McConnell

U.S. Senate Majority Leader U.S. Senate Republican Leader

522 Hart Senate Office Building 317 Russell Senate Office Building

Washington, D.C. 20510 Washington, D.C. 20510

RE: Attorney General Opposition To S. 2188, "The National Right-to-Carry Reciprocity Act" (Begich-Manchin) and S. 2213, "The Respecting States Rights and Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act" (Thune-Vitter)

Dear Majority Leader Reid and Republican Leader McConnell:

We write to respectfully urge you and your caucuses to oppose S. 2188, "The National Right-to-Carry Reciprocity Act" and S. 2213, "The Respecting States Rights and Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act." These two bills would force states to recognize concealed carry permits issued by any other states, even those with poor oversight and weaker permitting standards. These bills would create a lowest common denominator approach to public safety that would endanger police and make it more difficult to prosecute gun traffickers.

S. 2188 and S. 2213 trample on states' rights by overriding our states' legislative and regulatory authority to determine who can - and who cannot - carry hidden and loaded guns in public. For example, many states have established standards that go beyond federal law in order to keep concealed weapons out of the hands of violent misdemeanants, alcohol abusers, teenagers, and people who have not completed basic safety training. S. 2188 and S. 2213 would gut this framework, and impose the weakest state permitting and verification standards on all other states.

Under current law, states are free to enter into, refuse, or revoke concealed carry reciprocity agreements with other states. These agreements are often contingent on states having comparable permitting standards. For example, authorities in Nevada and New Mexico made the decision to stop recognizing carry permits issued by Utah, which does not require live-fire instruction as part of its training requirements. Nevada has also ended reciprocity with Florida, which only requires individuals to renew their permits every seven years. States would lose this discretion under forced reciprocity.

As Attorneys General, we are most troubled by the threat to public safety posed by local law enforcement's inability to promptly verify out-of-state permits. Contrary to claims by proponents of national concealed carry reciprocity legislation, varying state standards make it nearly impossible for our law enforcement agencies to quickly determine if a carry permit from another state is valid. This further jeopardizes the safety of police and the public. In addition, there is no comprehensive national database or inquiry system that alerts law enforcement officers when a concealed carry permit is counterfeit, expired, or has recently been revoked.

In fact, some states also fail to adequately track their own permit issuances and revocations. The Georgia Bureau of Investigations has confirmed it cannot determine when a state permit-holder breaks the law; recently enacted Wisconsin law prohibits law enforcement from accessing permitting information during traffic stops or for purposes of investigating potential criminal activity; and Florida issued permits to more than 1,400 people who previously pleaded guilty or no contest to felonies, 216 people with outstanding warrants, 128 people with active domestic violence injunctions, and six registered sex offenders.

The police officers in our states are already putting their lives on the line when they stop potentially dangerous individuals on the street. Forcing these officers to conduct traffic stops and other police activity with no ability to authenticate every other state's carry permits would pose an extraordinary and unnecessary risk.

Forced reciprocity is opposed by national organizations including: the International Association of Chiefs of Police; the Major Cities Chiefs Association, representing the police chiefs of 62 major U.S. cities; the National Network to End Domestic Violence, representing 56 state and territorial domestic violence coalitions; the Association of Prosecuting Attorneys; as well as various state law enforcement associations and law enforcement leaders. Forced reciprocity is also opposed by Mayors Against Illegal Guns, a bipartisan coalition of more than 650 mayors who collectively represent 54 million Americans.

We urge you to stand up for America's law enforcement community and oppose S. 2188 and S. 2213.


Eric T. Schneiderman

New York Attorney General

Kamala D. Harris

California Attorney General

George Jepsen

Connecticut Attorney General

David M. Louie

Hawaii Attorney General

Lisa Madigan

Illinois Attorney General

Douglas F. Gansler

Maryland Attorney General

Martha M. Coakley

Massachusetts Attorney General

Catherine Cortez Masto

Nevada Attorney General

Ellen Rosenblum

Oregon Attorney General

Kathleen Kane

Pennsylvania Attorney General-Elect

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Once the SCOTUS grants cert to rectify the split between the 2nd and 4th U.S. Circuits, the AG can go sh!t in his hat.

The District Court for the U.S. 4th Circuit ruled exactly the opposite of the 2nd.

"A citizen may not be required to offer a 'good and substantial reason' why he should be permitted to exercise his rights. The right‘s existence is all the reason he needs." - Judge Benson Everett Legg for the District Court of the U.S. 4th Circuit, Woollard v. Sheridan

When Judge Legg's decision is upheld by the appellate court, this will go to the Supremes. I am confident that New York's federal appellate decision, being completely out of the mainstream (37 states are "shall issue" and 2 are "no restrictions"), will be eviscerated.

And I'll just bet that most upstate New Yorkers (and downstate Illinoians) will rejoice, saying "Praise the Lord, God Almighty, that the progressive forces of evil have been defeated!"

At that point, reciprocity will be forced by political pressure on the state legislature by the electorate, and that, as they say, will be that.


It would nice if the author Mr. King bothered to mention the majorityof AG's that signed a letter in support of this legislation last yearand who continue to support it.  Schneiderman is an embarrassment to NewYorkers and as a cop, I hope the bill gets passed because law abidinggun owners are not the problem.  New York's ballistic imaging systemdisaster should be more than enough evidence of that.  Also, if, according to Schneiderman, 68% of guns used in crimes in New York come from out of state (actually, BATF says it's higher and so does Gillibrand), and no other states microstamp, how on earth is microstamping going to help solve gun crimes?  


BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA!  "allowing out-of-state visitors to carry concealed firearms based on their home state's less safe laws..."  because New York's laws have made it soooo much more safe than everywhere else.  Thanks for the laugh.


Absolutely incredible, it's like drug dealers, rapists and terrorists getting together and demanding good honest citizens from other states disarm so they can safely kill with impunity... The states with the highest recidivist rates want the rest of the nation to disarm... That's how I read this... PATHETIC...


This has NOTHING to do with "safety", only with arrogant political CONTROL!


So what are NY police so darn afraid of?  Are they scared of the Alberta Spruil's of the city? or the Randolph Evans perhaps? Maybe its the Amadou Diallo of the world.  Maybe they would shoot back. No. Wait. They are all dead. But nothing worse than a victim that can protect him or herself. Its not the law abiding licenced CCW holder you police have to worry about, because, we abide by the laws. We only want to protect ourselves from the same type of person you should be concerned with. The criminal. Criminals don't care about your ridiculous laws. They will still have guns. I just want to be able to do what you have admitted you cannot do. Protect myself and my family.  You should be standing behind us, not giving criminals the edge over us.  


Carry states have a lower crime rate! Tourist's with guns may lower the crime rates in New York City.Then we would need less policemen on the streets! How novel. Citizens that can finally protect themselves.  


Nothing but embarrassed by living in this state and their so called contemp for firearm owners


There is nothing Honorable about Harry Reid!


Do what I do with NYC, I can't carry there hence I do not go there.  My last visit was when I vowed never to go back in an unfaithful Saturday of August 1989.


P.S. - I guess the states the AG is referring to (that have "poor oversight and weaker permitting standards") are all those with lower crime rates than NY.

What planet do New York politicians live on?


@wolf45acp so people like you won't be able to afford guns an ammunition. Lets be honest... You really don't need one here in New York City and as a cop should knowing calling 9/11 and die is the way to go... Right on liberals. Problem is too many decent people own guns, they may hurt themselves an poor criminals only trying to make a living.

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