Bill Bratton’s Complaint <br>Puts New York City <br>Crosswise With Congress

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The New York Sun

“Insanity” is the word New York’s police commissioner, William Bratton, uses for the United States Congress. He’s angry, like all New Yorkers are, over the Harlem murder last week of Officer Randolph Holder.

Holder was slain with a gun that investigators say came in from South Carolina, according to a report in the New York Post. The weapon came in via an “iron pipeline” that Mr. Bratton blames Congress for failing to shut down.

“It still amazes me, the insanity of the United States Congress, that they just don’t get it,” the commissioner says about the failure of Congress to act. “And I don’t know why they don’t get it.”

Funny — most of the rest of the nation would see Mr. Bratton as the irrational one.

That’s because the guns Mr. Bratton sees as illegal mostly aren’t illegal until they enter his jurisdiction. Most of the country doesn’t see why they should be illegal, either. Some of these places border New York state.

The “iron pipeline,” moreover, isn’t some single line, even if some vendors are more heavily implicated than others. The pipeline includes every possible way to get into New York City. Even the rest of the state is far more friendly to gun ownership.

Mr. Bratton surely knows this — he’s playing to the most parochial element in town, the liberals and, especially, the press elite. They imagine that the pro-gun crowd is a national minority that somehow gets its way because of the all-powerful National Rifle Association.

The truth is the opposite. That’s why only seven states have both laws giving the government full discretion over who gets a permit to carry a pistol and a record of denying such permits even to law-abiding citizens.

New York state is one of the seven, but New York City is way worse. For all intents and purposes, the Second Amendment doesn’t apply here.

It doesn’t matter in New York City what a resident’s record or training is. Unless he has the money to go through a long process to prove a need — and that’s impossible for most to do — city residents will be turned down for a carry permit.

What a contrast to other places — including Israel, where the mayor of Jerusalem is actually encouraging its citizens to carry guns. He did so this month, amid the wave of stabbings by Palestinian Arabs.

Mayor Nir Barkat, who has a gun license, was himself filmed carrying his Glock 23. “Every time there is tension,” the Times of Israel quoted him as saying, “I instruct people who are allowed to carry weapons and are experienced in using them to carry their guns with them.”

In New York, they’d all be arrested. They couldn’t get licenses, no matter how well-trained they are and how law-abiding. Clergymen and journalists here don’t need licenses to exercise their rights under the First Amendment. Why should they for the Second Amendment?

It’s not as if suppressing gun rights for law-abiding citizens in New York has solved the crime problem. One of our neighbors, Vermont, is the closest of the 50 states to the constitutional ideal. For those over the age of 15, there just aren’t restrictions on carrying a pistol. No permit needed.

What’s the result? When it comes to the rate of gun homicides, Vermont is consistently close to the safest state, if not the safest state, in the union. In 2010, FBI figures put the rate of murders in Vermont at less than a quarter of the rate in New York.

Vermont’s junior senator, Bernard Sanders, and Secretary of State Clinton are already quarreling about the logic of Vermont’s gun laws. Not all states have the same culture (Mr. Sanders likes to talk about hunting), and not all of them need to have exactly the same gun laws.

Yet where does New York come off ignoring the Second Amendment entirely? It’s contempt for the national parchment. No wonder Congress is reluctant to step in. It can see that New York is against more than illegal guns. It’s against letting any guns be legal for nearly anyone.

“Personally, I have no faith in the Congress of the United States on this issue at all,” Mr. Bratton said this week. Maybe it’s time to start asking what Congress thinks of him.

This column first appeared in the New York Post.

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