A new report on the number of concealed carry license holders in the United States – 17.25 million, according to the Crime Prevention Research Center – has restored interest in national concealed carry reciprocity, and one group is wondering why that legislation is gathering dust.
The United States Concealed Carry Association (USCCA) reminded gun owners Tuesday morning that the organization has been urging lawmakers on Capitol Hill for more than a year to pass the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017, HR 446, sponsored by Rep. Richard Hudson (R-NC). The companion Senate measure, S. 446 sponsored by Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) is waiting for action.
After the House passed the bill last year, it went to the Senate, where it has been gathering dust.
The concealed carry update comes from the Crime Prevention Research Center, founded and operated by John Lott, economist and pro-Second Amendment author of such books as More Guns = Less Crime and The Bias Against Guns. According to Lott’s estimate, there has been an increase of 890,000 concealed carry licenses and permits since last year’s estimate.
“Every American, and particularly our teachers and school administrators, should have the right to personal safety and the ability to protect those around them. As students across the country prepare to return to school it’s our hope that elected officials across the country will recognize that support for concealed carry continues to grow across the country and they will pass policies that help to support it.”—Tim Schmidt, founder and president, USCCA
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In an interview with Fox News, Lott noted, “We have seen an increase from 4.6 million permits in 2007 to 17.25 million now, with the number increasing every year.”
The interest in personal protection is certainly there, but Senate action is nowhere to be found. President Donald Trump has indicated he would sign a national reciprocity bill, but still no action.
Republicans are poised to fill another seat on the U.S. Supreme Court with a judge who seems to understand that the Second Amendment means what it says. But even if Brett Kavanaugh is confirmed next month, the national reciprocity bill that gun owners hailed in 2017 when it passed the House almost appears like a carrot that will perpetually dangle in front of the horse.
“States like Texas and millions of Americans know that the only thing that can stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun, and that’s why more and more Americans are taking the right to self-defense very seriously,” said USCCA founder and President Tim Schmidt in a news release.
According to Lott’s update, about 8.63 percent of the adult population is licensed to carry, with the exception of New York and California. He could easily toss in other restrictive states such as New Jersey, Maryland, Massachusetts and Hawaii.
Alabama has the highest percentage at 22.1 percent and Indiana comes in second at 17.9 percent. The top 15 states include these two plus South Dakota, Pennsylvania, Georgia, Iowa, Utah, Tennessee, West Virginia, Kentucky, Washington, Florida, Arkansas, Colorado and Oklahoma, in that order.
Four states have more than a million active licenses each: Florida, Texas, Pennsylvania and Georgia.
But still, national reciprocity legislation that would protect these citizens as they travel around the country has not moved.
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