House Republicans will soon bring to the floor gun legislation that would increase conceal and carry rights.
The Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017 (HR 38) would allow licensed gun owners to bring firearms into other states as long as they have a photo ID and permit and comply with that state’s gun laws.
A concealed carry permit would effectively function like a driver’s license – it would be recognized by all states regardless of different permitting standards. Gun owners from states without concealed carry rules would have to obtain some credentials from their homes states in order to take advantage of the new law’s provisions.
The measure, which passed through the Judiciary Committee on Wednesday, would likely be combined with a bipartisan effort to improve the National Instant Criminal Background Check System.
“The Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act ensures that law-abiding citizens’ Second Amendment right does not end when they cross state lines,” said Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA). “Citizens with a state-issued concealed carry license or permit, or individuals who are citizens of states that do not require a permit to carry a concealed firearm, should not have to worry about losing these rights when entering another state that may have different rules and regulations.”
Nationwide reciprocity is “a much-needed solution to the confusing patchwork of state and local gun laws,” argues the NRA. HR 38 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 bill] would not, as some critics claim, affect how states issue their own concealed carry permits.”
Gun control advocates are predictably furious.
Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance called HR 38 “the single most destructive bill we could pass to affect the public safety we have achieved, and affect it negatively,” arguing that it would bring “hundreds of thousands” of individuals with loaded weapons into New York City.
Democrats point to the recent shootings in Las Vegas and Texas as a reason to limit gun ownership, but Rep. Richard Hudson (R-NC), the bill’s sponsor, has argued that these tragedies only increase a person’s need for self-defense – in this case by carrying a concealed weapon.
Other Democrats argue that the bill overrides state’s rights, a traditional policy priority for Republicans.
The bill “would effectively turn the weakest state’s laws into nationwide laws,” argues Moms Demand Action, a gun control group.
Republicans and Democrats have both claimed to have the support of the National Fraternal Order of Police, but the law enforcement organization told reporters that it had “taken no position” regarding the bill.
HR 38 has 213 co-sponsors, including a few Democrats, and support from attorneys general in five states. The bill’s Senate companion has 38 supporters, all of them Republicans. HR 38 could hit the House floor as early as next week.