Press Release

Press Release AG Healey Joins Coalition of States in Opposing Concealed Carry Reciprocity

Letter to Congress Details How Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act Would Undermine Local Public Safety Decisions and Endanger Communities
For immediate release:
10/23/2017
  • Office of Attorney General Maura Healey

Media Contact for AG Healey Joins Coalition of States in Opposing Concealed Carry Reciprocity

Emalie Gainey

BostonAttorney General Maura Healey joined a coalition of 17 attorneys general in strongly opposing the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017, arguing that the legislation would override local public safety decisions and endanger communities and local law enforcement.

The letter, sent to House and Senate leadership, was signed by the attorneys general of New York, Massachusetts, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Virginia, Washington, and the District of Columbia – all representing more than 140 million Americans.

“In Massachusetts, our strong gun laws save lives,” said Attorney General Maura Healey. “This bill undermines the authority of local law enforcement to keep guns away from dangerous people.”

Calling the legislation (H.R. 38 / S. 446) “ill-conceived bills” that would force states to recognize concealed carry weapon permits from other states, the attorneys general argue that their residents would lose longstanding protections designed to address public safety concerns in favor of rules made by other states legislating for very different local conditions.

If enacted, the attorneys general fear that the legislation would inevitably “lead to the death of police officers and civilians, the proliferation of gun traffickers, and acts of terrorism and other mass violence.”

“Rather than creating a new national standard for who may carry concealed firearms, these bills would elevate the lowest state standard over higher ones and force some States to allow concealed carry by people who do not qualify under their laws,” the Attorneys General wrote. That lowest state standard would, for example, weaken local prohibitions on concealed carry by violent misdemeanor offenders, domestic abuses, and others who states have determined would pose a danger.

“This legislation poses a real threat to the safety of our communities and we will not stand by as another loophole is created in our gun laws at the federal level,” said Chief Brian Kyes, President of the Massachusetts Major City Chiefs Association. “The Massachusetts Major City Police Chiefs Association urges Congress to reject this misguided effort that prevents our law enforcement officers from being able to effectively protect our residents.”

The attorneys general also point out that our country’s Constitution and federalist system primarily reserve policing the public safety to the states, given the great diversity between them.

“The result of the proposed legislation would be a proliferation of potentially dangerous or irresponsible non-residents with concealed weapons in the States, cities, and towns across America that have made local judgments that certain regulations on the carrying of such weapons are necessary to protect public safety. Furthermore, the House bill would override some state laws that prohibit carrying concealed weapons in bars, schools, shopping malls, movie theatres, subways, or parks. States would not be able to enforce those restrictions; nor would local law enforcement officers reacting to specific risks to the public in such locations, which have tragically been the site of mass shootings in recent years,” the Attorneys General wrote.

The letter also highlights how the legislation would endanger local law enforcement officers by forcing them to determine quickly, and often under duress, whether an armed individual is allowed to carry a concealed weapon under his or her local laws. This is particularly disturbing, given that 12 states allow concealed carry without a permit. Finally, the legislation would facilitate gun trafficking, allowing traffickers to even more easily transport guns across state lines with just a driver’s license from a “permitless” state.

“Please do not let concealed carry reciprocity become the next federal loophole lamented in the aftermath of a tragedy,” the attorneys general conclude in their letter.

In addition to these attorneys general, law enforcement from across the country have spoken out against this legislation – including local police commissioners in Massachusetts, the U.S. Conference of Mayors, the National Law Enforcement Coalition for Common Sense and the Law Enforcement Partnership (which is comprised of a dozen law enforcement associations, such as the International Association of Chiefs of Police, the Major Cities Chiefs Association, and the Police Foundation).

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Media Contact for AG Healey Joins Coalition of States in Opposing Concealed Carry Reciprocity

Office of Attorney General Maura Healey 

Attorney General Maura Healey is the chief lawyer and law enforcement officer of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
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