Anti-gun politicians and lobbying groups are pulling out all the stops in their fight to prevent national concealed carry reciprocity from advancing any farther, now that it has been approved on a strict 19-11 party-line vote by the House Judiciary Committee.
With the bill, HR38, headed to the House floor for consideration, Democrats and even one New York Republican – Rep. Peter King – are lining up against expansion of concealed carry rights across state lines. As Newsday is reporting, King has sided with Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance, Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas and NYPD First Deputy Commissioner Benjamin Tucker in opposition. Their argument is that New York’s stringent gun control laws have “changed the culture and the awareness about bringing guns in New York City.”
That may be true for law-abiding citizens ensnared by the restrictive state and city gun laws, but criminals still seem able to obtain guns through illegal means in the Empire State.
According to CBS News, Democrats contend that HR 38, sponsored by Congressman Richard Hudson (R-NC), will “endanger public safety by overriding states with strict gun laws.”
But Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte ripped Democrats for misrepresenting the bill.
“This bill will not arm criminals,” Goodlatte said, according to CBS. “Nothing in this bill would allow (a convicted criminal) to purchase or possess a firearm, let alone carry one in a concealed fashion.”
Goodlatte had noted in a statement that, “I want people to remember that this bill will not arm criminals. If someone is a criminal who is prohibited from purchasing or possessing a firearm, nothing in this bill would allow that person to purchase or possess a firearm, let alone carry one in a concealed fashion. That is currently illegal and will remain illegal under this bill.”
Wednesday, he added in a second statement, “The Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act ensures that law-abiding citizens’ Second Amendment right does not end when they cross state lines. 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.”
While the legislation may pass in the House, it may face tougher sledding in the Senate. And there may also be another wait for action.
Hudson’s bill had been gathering dust in committee since it was introduced back on Jan. 3. Gun owners had grown increasingly frustrated that the measure was not moving, and began reminding the GOP majority that it was gun owners who came through one year ago, giving Republicans a majority on Capitol Hill and preventing Hillary Rodham Clinton from becoming president.
The National Rifle Association considers reciprocity its top legislative priority.