Schumer sounds alarm over 'sneak' GOP gun bill
Sen. Charles Schumer warned that Republican "sneak attack" legislation could render New York State's law requiring handgun owners to obtain concealed carry licenses toothless.
The legislation, an amendment to the defense appropriations bill offered Friday by Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), would require New York and other states that issue concealed-carry firearms permits to honor such permits issued in other states.
"To say that someone who gets a license in another state can then take their gun into Central Park or into Eisenhower Park without any checking with local law enforcement is appalling and could affect our safety," Schumer (D-N.Y.) said in an interview.
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), who opposed restrictions on gun ownership as an upstate congresswoman, opposes the amendment, her spokeswoman said Sunday.
New York is one of 10 states that does not recognize concealed carry permits issued by other states.
Criteria for obtaining a concealed carry permit vary widely among the 46 states that allow the practice. Illinois and Wisconsin do not allow any form of concealed carry, while Alaska and Vermont allow it and do not require a permit.
Getting a handgun license in New York requires a county application and State Police approval.
To get a state license and a concealed carry permit here, a person must be 21 years old, never been convicted of a felony, never suffered from documented mental illness and never had a state handgun license revoked. State law also allows for a license to be denied if the applicant is deemed without "good moral character."
Schumer estimated the amendment has the support of about 55 senators and pledged a filibuster to prevent a vote on the amendment if necessary.
The National Rifle Association Friday announced its steadfast support for the Thune amendment.
"Now is the time for Congress to acknowledge these changes in state laws and recognize that the right to self-defense does not end at state lines," the NRA said.
A May amendment to federal credit card legislation that allowed concealed carry permit holders to take guns into national parks passed with bipartisan support in both houses.