In the Name of Self-Defense, Oppose the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act

A healthy and vibrant real estate environment in New York City depends on more than just policies specific to our industry. Underlying all new development is the assumption that neighborhoods, residential buildings, and commercial districts will be safe. It is for this reason that REBNY joins the New York Congressional delegation, the New York Police Department, the Manhattan District Attorney’s office, and leading community voices in the City in opposition to the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act.

It is easy to have missed the introduction of this bill to the House (and a similar bill in the Senate) at the beginning of the Congressional session amidst the flurry of other legislative actions, but there are few bills more important to New York City. If passed, the bill would allow citizens to carry concealed weapons in New York City if they have been granted a permit in another state – overriding the City’s own restrictions. This possibility should be opposed by all New Yorkers.

New York City has carefully cultivated its gun laws. The results of those restrictions are crystal clear. Since 1990, shootings in the city are down 81%. Murders are down 84% over the same period, a significant enough decline to account for 25% of the national homicide decline.

Similar trends are observable in the more recent term, too. According to NYPD data, shootings are down 42% in 2017 compared to 2016. All of this is a major contributor to the undeniable fact that New York is enjoying one of the safest periods in modern history.

And yet there are worrying signs. Roughly 40% of 2017 NYC homicides involve a gun – this is a clear sign that despite NYC’s uniquely tough gun laws, there is work to be done.

This legislation would undo all of this progress, strip the City and its residents of legislative agency, and, most importantly, endanger the lives of all New Yorkers.

Even those who typically champion states’ rights should not overturn decades of precedent simply because they believe in looser gun regulations.

Consider the basic point of the bill: that anyone licensed to carry a concealed weapon can do so in any state despite its municipal restrictions. What this means, in real terms, is that any one of the 1,400 convicted felons to whom Florida has issued concealed permits could travel to New York with a weapon and travel the subways.

More worryingly, New Yorkers could easily travel to another state that is more local – say, Vermont – acquire a permit, and return to New York armed, completely defeating the purpose of two decades’ worth of legislative progress.

The fight over guns in the United States is among the most politically-charged and ideologically-driven debates in the country. Too often, this obscures a simple reality: the lives of people are at stake. Since 2007 permit-holding citizens have been responsible for 29 mass shootings. These 29 instances killed 139 people (and an additional 759 people have been killed in non-mass shooting contexts by permit-holders).

Not a single one of these 898 deaths were in self-defense.

Imagine the damage a committed citizen could inflict upon Times Square, Rockefeller Center, or even a packed rush-hour subway car with a gun.

All around the country we have seen the destruction that can be wrought with guns, and none of the areas where these atrocities have been committed are as densely-populated as New York City.

New York has remained safe because it is extremely difficult to obtain and carry guns here. Safety must be the most paramount concern for all policymakers and must be the top priority for all organizations which deal with urban policy.

A safe city is a prosperous city.

REBNY thus opposes the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act. After all, the best self-defense of all is to keep guns out of New York City.