The House passed national concealed carry reciprocity legislation on Wednesday evening by a vote of 272-154.
The bill, H.R. 822, is intended to allow persons who hold a concealed carry permit from one state to also carry anywhere in the country, with the exception of Illinois and Washington, D.C.
Though the bill passed by a wide margin, it was not without controversy on the pro-gun side of the debate. In previous alerts, GOA has pointed out several flaws in the legislation:
- It forces Vermont residents (who do not need a permit to carry) to either obtain an out-of-state permit or to push their state to pass a more restrictive concealed carry law than it now enjoys;
- By requiring permits for reciprocity, the bill undermines efforts at the state level to pass constitutional carry (i.e., Vermont-style carry);
- In restrictive “may issue” states, the bill allows for non-residents to carry firearms in the state while most residents would still be prohibited, and;
- The bill is yet another example of Congress distorting of the Constitution’s Commerce Clause.
Representative Justin Amash (R-MI), who voted against the bill, addressed this last point in a statement, calling H.R. 822 “an unconstitutional bill that improperly applies the Commerce Clause to concealed carry licensing.”
Another freshman Representative, Rob Woodall (R-GA), noted that the right to carry a concealed firearm is already protected by the Second Amendment.
“If the Second Amendment protects my rights to carry my concealed weapon from state to state to state, I don’t need another federal law,” Rep. Woodall said. He went on to remind his colleagues of the original intent of the right to keep and bear arms.
“I don’t believe the Second Amendment was put in the Bill of Rights to allow me to shoot targets [or] hunt for deer and turkey. I think the Second Amendment was put in the Bill of Rights so that I could defend my freedom against an overbearing federal government.”
Anti-gun Amendment Passes
One extremely troubling amendment to the bill was slipped in on a voice vote. Sponsored by Republican David Reichert (“C” rated by GOA), the amendment instructs the Government Accounting Office to:
“Conduct a study of the ability of State and local law enforcement authorities to verify the validity of licenses or permits, issued by other States, to carry a concealed firearm.”
Nowhere in the Constitution is there even a hint of authority for the federal government to “study” the exercising of a right. Even worse, you can be sure that anti-gunners will use any excuse, including this study, to push for some type of national carry license.
The bill now heads to the Senate, where GOA is already working with key Senators to address ALL of the problems with the bill. GOA is also working with Rep. Paul Broun (R-GA) on legislation, H.R. 2900, that takes a constitutional approach to concealed carry recognition.
You can click here to send your own Representative a message urging him or her to become a cosponsor of H.R. 2900.