Another day, another reason to pass the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act.
Local media outlets reported earlier this month that a Colorado woman had been arrested at the Albany International Airport after trying to check in a handgun with airport security.
The woman, Haley Leach, 28, had been vacationing in Hunter, New York, since November and was attempting to fly home. When she tried to declare her handgun to Southwest Airlines representatives, they telephoned the police because she didn’t possess a New York pistol permit.
Despite holding a valid Colorado concealed carry permit, Leach was charged with criminal possession of a weapon and released on bail. She must return to New York in February to appear in court.
The New York legislature has imposed some of the strictest gun laws in the nation. But as anyone from the state will say, big-city politicians don’t speak for every Empire State resident.
“We’re taking so many law abiding citizens and basically making them criminals,” Albany County Sheriff Craig Apple told News10 ABC.
“These are people that are professionals,” he said. “They are doctors, pilots, lawyers, cops, firemen, whatever the case may be, and then when they go to fly out they get arrested.”
Apple said the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act would keep people from ending up like Leach. But until then he’ll be forced to arrest out-of-state residents who have no criminal intent.
“This is sad because it’s happening more and more,” he said.
Apple’s isn’t the only one frustrated with the patchwork of state gun laws.
Leslie McDermott runs an indoor shooting range and gun store in New York. He says that out-of-state customers come in daily who do not realize they might be breaking the law.
“Traveling through, see our sign, and stop in,” McDermott told News10 ABC. “They can’t shoot here because they don’t have a New York State pistol permit.”
“It’s frustrating for people who don’t know the law,” he said.
The National Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017 would force state officials to treat concealed carry permits much like drivers’ licenses. If the legislation passes, Leach’s Colorado permit will be valid in New York and vice versa.
The House of Representatives passed the bill in December with a bipartisan vote of 231 to 198. The bill now faces a much more difficult fight in the Senate, where Republicans hold a razor-thin 51-49 majority.