The Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017 amends the federal criminal code to allow an individual, eligible to carry a concealed firearm in his or her state of residence, to carry that handgun in another state, even in a school zone, that allows individuals to carry concealed firearms.
Gun enthusiasts may celebrate the passage of a concealed carry law. The argument in favor of this new law is based on a very simple analogy. Anyone holding a driver’s license from any state can drive a car in any other state. An out of state driver can hurt people accidentally or intentionally with a car. By this reasoning, allowing someone from any state to carry a gun in another in is no more dangerous than an out of state driver of a car. So, the argument goes, why not allow individuals who are licensed to carry concealed weapons in their home state, carry their concealed guns in any other state?
It is hard to dispute that logic. But this is a cautionary tale. There is a caveat for those people who want to carry a concealed gun into another state. The caveat is that the analogy to a car breaks down once you use the gun. Having an auto accident in another state is not likely to result in criminal charges. Of course, you may be sued for damage but your auto insurance will pay for any liability.
The same is not true if you use a gun. In New York, if you fire a gun while visiting and accidentally hit someone you may be sued for negligence but that is the least of your problems. If you fire a gun in a crowded area, you may be charged criminally and found guilty of manslaughter for conscious disregard of the safety of others. If you display a firearm intending to protect yourself from someone, you may be shot yourself by an NYPD officer trained to protect New Yorkers. There may other possible ways to get yourself in trouble, like displaying the gun and facing charges for menacing.
Here’s some good advice to anyone who carries a concealed weapon in their home state. Don’t bring it to New York. But if you feel you have to, understand that once you use it here, there may be legal consequences that go far beyond the value of having the gun with you.