Though it was mostly overlooked amid the Senate’s crucial procedural vote on tax reform, the House Judiciary Committee late yesterday voted 19-11 in favor of a highly controversial bill, dubbed the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017, which would amend the federal criminal code to allow the concealed transport of handguns across state lines, so long as both states allow it. If passed, the bill would prevent states from imposing their individual requirements for a concealed carry license on armed travelers from other states. Here’s a summary of the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017:
This bill amends 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.
A qualified individual must: (1) be eligible to possess, transport, or receive a firearm under federal law; (2) carry a valid photo identification document; and (3) carry a valid concealed carry permit issued by, or be eligible to carry a concealed firearm in, his or her state of residence.
Additionally, the bill specifies that a qualified individual who lawfully carries or possesses a concealed handgun in another state: (1) is not subject to the federal prohibition on possessing a firearm in a school zone, and (2) may carry or possess the concealed handgun in federally owned lands that are open to the public.
As Bloomberg points out, the National Rifle Association has called the concealed carry bill, which would make it easier for gun owners to keep their firearms hidden when crossing state lines, its “highest legislative priority in Congress.” Despite concerns raised by Democrats about states’ rights and domestic violence, the Republican-controlled Congress has pushed the proposal one step closer to becoming law.
Of course, Trump openly courted NRA members during the 2016 election cycle and vowed in a speech to the NRA earlier this year: “you came through for me, and I am going to come through for you.” Here is a portion of Trump’s speech transcript courtesy of Newsweek:
But you came through for me, and I am going to come through for you. I was proud to receive the NRA’s earliest endorsement in the history of the organization. And today, I am also proud to be the first sitting President to address the NRA Leadership Forum since our wonderful Ronald Reagan in 1983. And I want to thank each and every one of you not only for your help electing true friends of the Second Amendment, but for everything you do to defend our flag and our freedom.
With your activism, you helped to safeguard the freedoms of our soldiers who have bled and died for us on the battlefields. And I know we have many veterans in the audience today, and we want to give them a big, big beautiful round of applause.
But we have news that you’ve been waiting for for a long time: The eight-year assault on your Second Amendment freedoms has come to a crashing end. You have a true friend and champion in the White House. No longer will federal agencies be coming after law-abiding gun owners. No longer will the government be trying to undermine your rights and your freedoms as Americans. Instead, we will work with you, by your side. We will work with the NRA to promote responsible gun ownership, to protect our wonderful hunters and their access to the very beautiful outdoors. You met my son—I can tell you, both sons, they love the outdoors. Frankly, I think they love the outdoors more than they love, by a long shot, Fifth Avenue. But that’s okay. And we want to ensure you of the sacred right of self-defense for all of our citizens.
Not surprisingly, the bill has drawn harsh criticism from the Left which argues that it effectively neuters the laws of individual states and turns the most lax state laws into federal laws…
The bill has found its fair share of detractors as well, including New York Police Department Commissioner James O’Neill. “I don’t think there is any reason for anybody to bring a gun into New York City,” O’Neill said in an interview earlier this year. “We don’t need any more guns.” Historically, many firearms used in killings in more highly regulated northeastern states originate in southern and western states with fewer or no gun restrictions.
Moms Demand Action, a gun control group that attended Wednesday’s hearing, has also attacked the bill, arguing it “is a chaotic and dangerous policy that would gut every state’s gun laws and make our communities less safe.”
The group argues that the bill “would effectively turn the weakest state’s laws into nationwide laws” because conceal carry laws vary state by state. For example, convicted stalkers are banned from concealed carry in some states, but not all, and the age for concealed carry also varies. In the event the bill passes, a Georgia permit, a state that allows abusive partners to carry hidden firearms, would become effective in New York, a state that currently doesn’t recognize any other state’s conceal carry permits.
Responding to Republicans during the hearing, Representative Jerrold Nadler, a Democrat from New York, said he “strongly opposed” the bill and argued it would override state’s rights, a traditional policy priority for Republicans. “Public safety would suffer if we were to unwisely adopt this legislation,” he added.
…but Republican take a slightly different stance…
“This would end abuses in anti-gun states like New York and New Jersey and allow law-abiding concealed carriers to exercise their rights nationwide with peace of mind,” the NRA website states. “[The bill] would not, as some critics claim, affect how states issue their own concealed carry permits.”
U.S. Representative Richard Hudson, the North Carolina Republican who introduced the legislation, called the bill “welcome progress” in efforts to expand and protect access to firearms.
So what say you? Is this a hypocritical trampling of states rights, a traditional priority of Republicans, or a necessary fight against liberal strongholds intent upon circumventing the Second Amendment?