Dana Balter Statement on Congressman Katko’s “Red Flag” Proposal

“This weak and toothless bill will do little to make us safer,” Dana Balter said. “Congressman Katko sponsored legislation that would force New York to allow domestic violence offenders to carry concealed weapons in our communities, and he’s resisted efforts to allow collection and analysis of basic information on gun violence. He can take real steps on these issues, but he’s refused to stand up for us.” See the following U.S. Rep. John Katko (NY-24) on September 7th, introduced the Protecting our Communities and Rights Act of 2018



U.S. Rep. John Katko, an original cosponsor of the concealed-carry gun bill, compared it to an individual who has a driver’s license. Once they have a driver’s license, they are able to drive in another state while abiding by the laws in that state.

A federal ban on possessing firearms in school zones would not apply to those with concealed carry permits.


Reps. John Katko and Claudia Tenney in Central New York are co-sponsors of the bill, which Republicans view as an important expansion of gun rights. It’s the top legislative priority of the National Rifle Association.

But Onondaga County District Attorney William Fitzpatrick and Vera House Executive Director Randi Bregman warned today that any change in existing law could have dangerous consequences for New York, which has tougher permitting requirements than most states. 

Bregman, who heads the shelter for victims of domestic violence in Central New York, said she asked Katko to oppose the measure. She’s concerned that domestic violence offenders could follow their victims across state lines with loaded, concealed firearms.

“Reciprocity would force every state to accept other states’ concealed carry permits,” Bregman said, “even if the out-of-state concealed carry permit was issued to a domestic violence offender who would be prohibited from obtaining such a permit in the travel state.”

New York is not among the 12 states that require no permit or training to carry hidden, loaded guns in public. But if Congress passes the law, almost anyone from those states would be authorized to carry concealed firearms in New York.

Also unlike New York, 11 states grant concealed-carry permits to people who have not undergone safety training. And 20 states issue permits to people convicted of some violent crimes.

Fitzpatrick, the Onondaga County DA, said he has shared his concerns with Katko about any bill that would allow universal state recognition of any state’s permit. He said it would make New York less safe.

“Why?” Fitzpatrick said. “Well, as a start, 12 states have virtually no background checks in allowing concealed carry permits. Some states, incredibly enough, allow felons and domestic violence offenders to carry.”

He added that “a larger influx of guns is necessarily going to result in some of those guns being integrated into criminal gangs; increased danger to officers in any encounter from street stops to traffic stops; and accidental shootings from untrained civilians negligently discharging weapons in various situations.”


The National Rifle Association might prefer a commission with members appointed by Trump, a clear foe of science. But if Katko’s support of a “clinical” approach means scientific research conducted by scientific experts, he should work tirelessly to repeal the Dickey Amendment and to provide funding to the CDC to study gun violence with no less urgency than the other major public health issues of our time, wherever that research may lead.

Let the CDC do its job.


About Congressional Candidate Dana Balter

Dana Balter

Dana Balter is a lifelong educator whose commitment to dignity and access for everyone began when she helped her brother stand up to bullies targeting his cognitive disabilities. She returned to her family roots in upstate New York when she enrolled at Syracuse University’s Maxwell School in 2003. Most recently, she taught undergraduate and graduate courses there in citizenship, public policy, administration, and democracy.

Dana began her campaign in her living room in Syracuse’s Outer Comstock neighborhood. That campaign has grown into a massive grassroots movement committed to showing up, listening, and standing up for the people of central and western New York.