New York would be forced to honor concealed-weapons permits from the other 49 states under proposals advanced in the Senate by allies of the National Rifle Association as part of a broader gun control deal, Sen. Charles Schumer warned Sunday.
In a release issued Sunday, Schumer (D-N.Y.) said New York, which requires stringent screenings of concealed-carry applicants, could be "swamped by armed individuals from out of state carrying hidden and loaded firearms."
But Rockland County Legis. Frank Sparaco (R-Valley Cottage), a critic of parts of New York's SAFE Act gun control law, applauded the reciprocal carry proposal as a "wonderful idea" akin to the agreement under which licenses let motorists drive in any state. He maintained that the right to bear arms is protected absolutely under the Second Amendment.
"A constitutional right is a constitutional right," he said. "When I was in the military, I was sworn to uphold the Constitution."
Sparaco said that during a tour in Bosnia and Herzegovina when he was in the Navy, he "saw what happens to an unarmed populace."
Rape and genocide ran rampant in that mid-1990s conflict, he said, something that would be averted on U.S. soil because of the country's gun-toting citizenry.
The Obama administration proposed a ban on assault rifles and high-capacity magazines, but those provisions are expected to face bruising opposition.
A bipartisan deal -- worked out by Sens. Patrick Toomey, a Pennsylvania Republican, and Joe Manchin III, a West Virginia Democrat -- to expand background checks for firearms purchasers is expected to be considered by the Senate this week.
New York's SAFE Act, passed in the wake of the Sandy Hook shooting, outlawed semiautomatic rifles with military-style features like pistol grips and bayonet mounts and high-capacity magazines. It also set up a statewide gun registry.
With Nicholas Spangler