2011-11-25 / Top Stories

Turner Votes No On Gun Bill

Joins Democrats In Fighting New Law
By Howard Schwach

Congressman Bob Turner Congressman Bob Turner Newly elected Congressman Bob Turner has voted with Democrats on a bill that would allow people with valid gun carry permits in one state to carry them in any other state as well.

By voting against the bill, Turner joined other local Republican Congressmen that include Peter King and Michael Grimm in bucking the Republican leadership and National Rifle Association lobbyists.

The House of Representatives passed the National Right to Carry Reciprocity Act of 2011, HR 822, by a vote of 272-154 on November 15.

The bill allows those who have a valid carry permit in their home state, to travel to another state that issues such permits and the permit will be valid.

Police officials in New York City say that the new law would allow a person with a valid carry permit from, for example, Pennsylvania, where the permits are relatively easy to obtain, to carry a gun openly in New York City, which has stricter rules for carrying a weapon.

Arguments were split along progun/ anti-gun lines, but also along the states’ rights/federal powers divide. Anti-gun Democrats, who found themselves on the unfamiliar ground of using the states’ rights arguments to bolster their case, offered several amendments in an attempt to either make the bill toothless or unworkable, but all failed.

Repeatedly throughout the hearing on the bill, the anti-gunners set their sights squarely on Florida, claiming that the Sunshine State’s Carrying A Concealed Weapon (CCW) process is so lenient that convicted felons, spouse abusers, even terrorists can simply waltz in and get a carry permit.

During the hearing, a number of representatives held up their own carry permits, granted by their home states.

One Representative, Adam Kingzinger of Illinois, pointed out that his state was the only state in the nation that offered no way for a citizen to get a carry permit, noting that this draconian restriction hasn’t stopped people from being shot on the streets of Chicago every day. Maybe, he said, this bill will wake up his state and get it to finally allow concealed carry for its residents.

A similar bill was offered in the Senate, but insiders say that it is unlikely to pass. A similar bill was defeated in the Senate in 2009.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who heads the “Mayors Against Illegal Guns,” said in a prepared statement, “A majority of the House ignored the advice of police, prosecutors, domestic violence experts, faith leaders and more than 600 mayors who made it clear that this measure would put police and communities at greater risk. Many of them put aside their usual respect for the authority of states to decide how to protect their communities.”

The NRA issued a statement, which read, “This bill does not affect existing state laws. State laws governing where concealed firearms may be carried would apply within each state’s borders. H.R. 822 does not create a federal licensing system or impose federal standards on state permits; rather, it requires the states to recognize each others’ carry permits, just as they recognize drivers’ licenses and carry permits held by armored car guards.”

Turner did not return calls and emails for comment on this story.

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