Zeldin Co-Sponsor Of Concealed-Carry Act

Attention surrounding Representative Lee Zeldin’s planned fund-raiser with Steve Bannon, late of the White House and now back at the Breitbart organization, overshadowed the fact that he was a co-sponsor of House legislation to allow holders of concealed-firearm permits the right to carry their guns anywhere in the United States. The act would force states to honor out-of-state concealed-carry permits even if they were opposed to doing so. The bill would allow private citizens to carry hidden firearms even in places like New York City, where they are not now permitted.The implications for a country already bleeding from gun violence are dire. Mr. Zeldin’s co-sponsorship of a measure that will lead to even more killing, suicide, and serious injury defies understanding. 

New York has strict standards about who can own a gun, and even tougher permit rules about who can have one hidden on their body in public. By contrast, 12 states do not require permits for concealed weapons at all and many others have lax regulations. Should the House bill become law, anyone legally allowed to carry a gun in his or her home state could also do so in New York. It is something like the way a driver’s license is respected across state lines, only in the case of guns, without training, competency tests, or a clean criminal history.

Critics have derided the House act on several fronts. In New York, District Attorney Cyrus Vance raised the disturbing possibility of 1,000 armed out-of-towners among the crowd in Times Square for New Year’s Eve. New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman decried what would, in effect, be the reversal of the state’s strong gun laws. On Long Island, where gang violence has drawn national attention, concealed-carry permission could indirectly put more guns into the hands of members of gangs like the dangerous MS-13 because the risk of arrest for interstate firearms smugglers would be reduced. 

Mr. Zeldin has had consistently high ratings from gun rights and industry groups, such as Gun Owners of America and the National Rifle Association, but that still does not adequately explain how he could sponsor a bill that is so obviously at odds with the interests of his own home state.