By Maria Rocha-Buschel
In response to the deadly mass shooting in Las Vegas, local elected officials joined Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance in trying to push tighter federal gun restrictions.
“Congress’s first priority should be to keep people safe, but when it comes to gun violence we are failing miserably,” said Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, while at a press conference on Saturday near Union Square Park’s Gandhi statue.
She added, “We need to pass common sense, effective reforms like universal background checks, an assault weapons ban and stricter gun trafficking laws. These will help save lives, while at the same time respect the Second Amendment.”
The House was scheduled to consider legislation that would reduce current restrictions on buying silencers last week but postponed bringing it up because of the massacre the previous weekend.
The legislation, called the Sportsmen’s Heritage and Recreational Enhancement Act and also known as the SHARE Act, would reduce restrictions on buying silencers, removing the checks put in place with the National Firearms Act of 1934, which requires federal registration and a special license for the purchase of gun silencers.
Maloney also sent a letter to House Speaker Paul Ryan, asking him not to bring the SHARE Act up for a vote, and encouraged him not to bring the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017 to the floor for consideration either.
The Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act would force all states to recognize concealed carry weapon permits from other states, regardless of how lax or strict the laws are from state to state. The legislation also specifies that someone who lawfully carries a concealed handgun in another state is not subject to the federal prohibition on possessing a firearm in a school zone and may carry or possess the concealed handgun in federally owned lands that are open to the public.
“That would mean that residents of states like New York, which has strong gun safety laws, would now be at the mercy of states with the weakest laws,” Maloney said in the letter.
“This ties the hands of states legislatures around the country, and poses an unacceptable risk to my constituents and millions of others across the country. Our states have chosen to take Constitutional steps to protect our residents from gun violence. The federal government should not force us to live by a weaker set of standards and, thus, put our residents’ lives and well-being at risk.”
Assembly Member Brian Kavanagh, who is also chair of American State Legislators for Gun Violence Prevention and its New York affiliate, also opposes the legislation.
“The newest threat is the election of this president because the NRA is emboldened,” Kavanagh said on Saturday.
“We need to work with legislators because we know that gun laws work and weak laws take lives.”