Colonie, NY – A Colorado woman was arrested in a New York airport when she tried to check her handgun for her flight home on Jan. 10, in accordance with TSA guidelines.
Haley Leach, 28, followed proper airport protocol for checking a weapon, and declared her handgun to the Southwest counter agent when she checked in for her flight.
However, Leach was not in possession of a pistol permit for the state of New York, so police arrested her.
Albany County Sheriff Craig Apple told WTEN it’s a common problem in New York, and that lots of people from nearby states get arrested for bringing their weapons into New York without knowing the state’s gun laws.
“We’re taking so many law abiding citizens and basically making them criminals,” Sheriff Apple said.
“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.”
An expert said she likely had no idea she was breaking the law when she brought her handgun, legal in Colorado, to the state of New York.
“It’s frustrating for people who don’t know the law,” Leslie McDermott, manager of The Indoor Shooting Range, told WTEN.
McDermott said he has to advise new customers on a daily basis of what the law is in New York. He said customers visiting from nearby states like Vermont and Massachusetts, don’t realize their concealed carry permits from those states mean nothing once they’ve crossed the state line.
Leach was released on $200 bail and must return to New York to appear in court in February.
Sheriff Apple said something needed to change, and blamed the problem on New York’s lack of reciprocity for gun permits. Whereas other states have adopted the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act, the state of New York has not.
Nineteen states have agreed to reciprocity for concealed carry permits. Twenty states offer partial reciprocity.
A few states offer limited reciprocity in a vehicle while a gun owner is traversing the state.
New York, California, Connecticut, Oregon, Hawaii, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Maryland, and the District of Columbia do not extend reciprocity to any other state.
The federal legislation that proposed the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017 passed the U.S. House of Representatives in December of 2017. It was referred to the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee where it awaited further action.
The proposed bill amended the federal criminal code to allow "a qualified individual to carry a concealed handgun into, or possess a concealed handgun in, another state that allows individuals to carry concealed firearms."
If passed, the reciprocity law would remove most of the confusion regarding where an individual’s firearms are legal.
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