Press Archive

New York Attorney General Urges Reid McConnell Not Pass Concealed Gun Bill

If you do not realize why passage of this Bill will cause a significant, direct assault to your own and your loved ones’ safety, READ THIS, then CONTACT your Senators. (For your Senator’s contact info click this link http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm )

Dear Majority Leader Reid and Leader McConnell:

I am writing to respectfully urge you and your caucuses to oppose the National Right-to-Carry Reciprocity Act (S.Amdt. 1618 (111th) & H.R. 822 (112th)), which may be before the Senate in short order. This legislation would have a devastating effect on the ability of law enforcement in New York to combat the scourge of gun violence. Specifically, it would force nearly every state in the Union — including those, like New York, with reasonable restrictions on firearm ownership and transport, that are essential to public safety — to abandon its 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.

This would create a lowest common denominator approach to public safety that would increase the threat to New Yorkers, impede the ability of law enforcement to do its job, and undermine the will of our citizens as expressed through their duly elected state legislators. Stated simply, it would make the people of my State — where we have long-held standards intended to keep firearms out of the hands of those who should not have them — less safe.

Congress should be passing legislation to ensure that there are fewer potentially dangerous people on our streets with concealed, loaded handguns — not legislation, like the National Right-to-Carry Reciprocity Act, which undermines state law enforcement efforts to combat gun-related violence. A 2010 study showed that nearly half of the guns that crossed state lines before being recovered in crimes came from just ten states, most with comparatively weak online casino gun laws, indicating that weak gun laws in other states have already had an appreciable negative public safety impact on states like New York. Indeed, in 2009, more than 92% of the traced guns recovered in connection with crimes committed in New York City originally came from outside the State. Unlike New York, which requires every applicant for a handgun license to submit to both a fingerprint-based criminal history background check and a review of his or her mental health records, many states require only one of these two critical background checks, and some require neither.

Forcing us to honor gun permits from other states will dramatically increase the threat posed by firearms in our State by restricting our ability to control who may and may not carry a concealed weapon in all or parts of the State, undermining the ability of police to verify the validity of gun permits (as no national database exists) and allowing gun traffickers to more easily bring illegal guns into the State.

New York has, through its elected representatives, made reasoned judgments about the ability of its citizens to carry concealed firearms based on its own assessment of the dangers posed by these weapons and the particular public safety needs of its residents. Similar public safety concerns form the basis of New York”s longstanding ban on assault weapons and its statutory requirement that background checks be conducted at all gun shows in the State. This legislation would strip New York and other states of the authority to determine who may carry a concealed, loaded weapon within their borders. In so doing, it would increase the threat of gun violence against New Yorkers, compromise the safety of our law enforcement officers and their ability to crack down on illegal firearms, and undermine the considered judgment of this State as to the public safety needs of its own citizens.

For all these reasons, I strongly urge you to oppose the National Right-to-Carry Reciprocity Act. Thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely,
Eric T. Schneiderman

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Attorney General
New York

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A New Strategy to Force Sane Gun Laws Now

Elliot Fineman is Chief Executive Officer of the National Gun Victims Action Council (NGVAC).  In 2006 his son was murdered by a stranger, while dining in a San Diego restaurant with his wife.  The murderer was a paranoid schizophrenic who had legally obtained the gun.

Like most of us, I always knew, guns were a serious problem in our society.  But I had no idea of how insane our gun laws really are.   After my son’s murder, when I was able to function, I closed my practice, I was a Strategic Marketing Advisor to Fortune 500 companies, and have dedicated my life to preventing other parents and families from having to go through this unimaginable, indescribable and life altering experience.

Strategic marketing advisors are research junkies.  What I found was that our gun laws are not sane, and have led to an epidemic of gun violence. To put it in perspective, England reports 75 gun murders per year. England’s culture is similar to ours—they hunt, collect guns, value marksmanship; they have gangs, drugs and poverty. Our population is 5 times England’s, 300 million vs. 60 million.

If we had England’s gun laws, which are based on public safety, we could expect 5 times their gun homicides, or 375 per year.  We have 12,000, over 300 times more. Why?

Because American gun laws are based on maximizing sales for the gun industry, not public safety. As a result, our gun laws are not sane, consider these examples:

  • Known terrorists who are not allowed to purchase a plane ticket can legally purchase guns, including guns that can bring down a plane landing or taking off.
  • The gun industry is the only industry exempt from Federal regulation. (It used to be tobacco and guns, now it is just guns.)
  • Guns are not registered, gun owners are not licensed.
  • Criminals and people with mental illness, who cannot legally buy a gun from a gun dealer, can go to any gun show and legally buy as many guns as they want.
  • Many states have passed laws allowing guns in restaurants, bars, schools, sporting arenas, workplace parking lots, airports and churches. The list keeps growing.
  • Guns can now be carried in National Parks and on Amtrak trains.
  • The NRA is trying to have laws passed that will:
    • Allow People with Alzheimer to legally purchase guns
    • Abolish gun free school zones.
  • Sales to criminals represent 25% of annual industry sales.  To protect the industry’s sales, the NRA defeats any law that would make it harder for criminals to get guns and then says “You need to carry a gun at all times to protect yourself from armed criminals.”

To maximize sales, the NRA’s goal is that guns be carried–either openly or concealed—any place, any time, by anyone—it is advancing unchecked.

(All Photographs below from “Profiles of ‘Open Carry’ Gun-law Advocates” by Steve LaBadessa of Time.)

Coming to a supermarket near you:

Guns in the supermarket

Jan Cushman  “My heart was pounding a little bit,” says Cushman of the first time she wore her gun in public, “but I just went in, got my produce, got my dairy products, and got in line.”

A women’s open-carry “meet-up” at a nail salon and spa in Fremont, Calif:

Gun open carry meet-up in a nail salon spa

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Shannon Pena and Alaine Helmatoler

Why Are Our Gun Laws Insane?

Our gun laws are not sane because of the enormous imbalance between the two principal parties, the NRA and the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. The NRA has an annual budget of $250 million; Brady’s is $7 million. The NRA has 600 employees; Brady has 23. We cannot get sane gun laws passed with this imbalance.

For 18 years since the Brady Act was passed in 1993, not one single law has been passed at the federal level to reduce gun violence.  This, despite Columbine, Virginia Tech, Ft. Hood and now Tucson.  In fact just the opposite has occurred.

How Can We Get Sane Gun Laws Now?

An additional strategy must be added to our efforts, one that the NRA cannot defeat.  That strategy is an economic lever.  I formed the National Gun Victims Action Council (NGAC) to create the economic lever.  NGAC is a network of 14 million gun violence victims, survivors, their families and friends, faith leaders and ordinary Americans using their economic leverage (buying power) to enable sane gun laws to be enacted—laws that protect public safety.

Because we outnumber the NRA’s extremist members by 50 to 1, NGAC’s economic lever gives our side a strategy the NRA cannot defeat.   This is the first time they have faced such a situation.

Glock 9MM gun okay to carry in Starbucks

NGAC’s  Starbucks  boycott will end when: 1)they ban all guns, open and concealed from their stores, and 2) they become a powerful advocate for sane gun laws.

NGAC is about much more than Starbucks, but Starbucks is the game changer.  Once it is known that NGAC is a legitimate economic threat, specific company and state boycotts, will enable us to get sane gun laws; laws based on protecting the public’s safety vs. increasing the sales of the gun industry.

Final Comments

To reach the boycott participants, NGVAC is working with faith groups of every denomination and non-faith groups (e.g., Million Moms, Legal Community Against Violence etc.) that work on gun violence reduction.

Because reducing gun violence will save lives and protect innocents, this is a moral issue. The Faith community’s  involvement is essential.

The Episcopal Peace Fellowship’s Executive Committee has voted to join with the other faith denominations to support and participate in helping NGVAC implement the economic lever strategy.  In this video, Reverend Jackie Lynn, Executive Director of the Episcopal Peace Fellowship, explains why. 

As of today, NGVAC is working with the Episcopal Peace Fellowship, The United Church of Christ, the National Council of Churches, the Fellowship of Reconciliation and the Union for Reformed Judaism.

With the economic lever, each of us is empowered to be a force to help change the gun laws now.  We all must work together to do so—the insanity of the current gun laws requires that we do.  You have the power to help stop the NRA’s pro-gun agenda.  Join with us and use it.

The National Gun Victims Action Council (NGVAC) is a network of 14 million gun victims, survivors, their families, supporters, the faith community and ordinary people leveraging their economic (buying) power to change America’s gun laws.

It is important to note that sane gun laws can simultaneously protect the Second Amendment right of the legal gun owner and the non-gun owner’s unalienable rights, expressed in the Declaration of Independence, to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

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