Together with U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg, I am calling on President Barack Obama to issue a veto threat of legislation that was approved in the House Judiciary Committee that would allow gun owners to even if they weren’t issued a permit by that state.
The legislation (H.R. 822) is expected to be considered for a full vote in the House of Representatives next week. In a letter to the President, both Sen. Lautenberg and I write that:
“We strongly urge you and your administration to make clear your opposition to, and issue a veto threat for H.R. 822. Passing H.R. 822 would jeopardize public safety and would be an insult to states like New Jersey and New York that purposefully have strong gun ownership laws. In a country with almost 300 million guns, we need to be strengthening our gun safety laws, not weakening them.”
The House bill would allow anyone who is licensed to carry a concealed weapon in one state to carry a concealed weapon in almost every other state, even if the individual would be ineligible for a permit in the state in which he or she is carrying.
The text of the letter follows:
Dear Mr. President:
We are writing to express our concern on a critical gun issue and to seek your leadership to protect the American people.
Like you, we share the desire to stop senseless gun violence in this country. That is why we are particularly concerned with the recent effort to increase the accessibility and mobility of guns. A dangerous measure proposed in the House of Representatives would allow gun owners to carry concealed firearms across state lines. Passage of such a law would start a race to the bottom on gun safety with each state forced to follow another state’s laws on gun ownership.
In our states, we work hard to keep guns out of the hands of people who have no business having them. In New Jersey and New York, law enforcement is directly involved in the concealed carry permit process and has discretion to approve or deny a permit if it would jeopardize public safety. Also, individuals in our states under the age of 21 are prohibited from obtaining a concealed carry permit for a handgun, and both states do not recognize out-of-state concealed carry permits.
New Jersey and New York are not alone among the states in adopting gun laws tailored to the needs of their citizens. However, H.R. 822 would override careful legal decisions made by our states and others by enabling visitors to ignore those laws as long as they come armed with a concealed carry permit from some other state. New Jersey and New York, along with every other state, would effectively be forced to accept the weakest standards in the nation.
It is particularly surprising for Congressional Republicans to be pushing a measure that directly goes against their deep-rooted support for states’ rights. Indeed, under H.R. 822, state gun safety laws would be rendered moot. In a recent poll, almost three-quarters of voters opposed Washington’s interference with states’ rights to establish their own standards for issuing concealed carry permits.
We strongly urge you and your Administration to make clear your opposition to, and issue a veto threat for, H.R. 822. Passing H.R. 822 would jeopardize public safety and would be an insult to states like New Jersey and New York that purposefully have strong gun ownership laws.
In a country with almost 300 million guns, we need to be strengthening our gun safety laws, not weakening them. We look forward to your Administration’s support in defeating this harmful legislation.
is the representative of New York’s Fourth Congressional District. She was first elected in 1996.