While the country was focused on the tax bill that (finally) made its way through both the House and the Senate, a bill that greatly expands America’s gun rights has been quietly moving close to becoming the law of the land.
The bill, which the NRA has said is their top legislative priority this year, would finally force states to recognize concealed carry permits from other states.
The “Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017” actually has a chance of passing too, with many Democrats in “Trump” states not willing to take an “anti-gun” stance and face the wrath of conservatives and Trump supporters in the 2018 elections.
This week, the act sailed through the House Judiciary Committee. The bill would force states with odious (and unconstitutional) bars for obtaining concealed carry permits to recognize the permits from states with lower thresholds. It would also allow off-duty police officers to carry weapons in schools.
The bill was supported by Idaho Republican Rep. Raul Labrador. “We have low crime rates, and that’s because we actually have people that are carrying,” he said. “The more people carry, the lower crime will be. Apparently, they like the high crime in their states.”
There are no fewer than 210 co-sponsors in the House and sponsor Rep. Richard Hudson (R-NC) has told party leaders it has the votes to sail through the House and could be approved by the lower chamber as early as next week.
In the Senate, the bill has to pass a 60-vote majority and with most bills, that would be hard. But momentum is building. Despite only having a 52-seat majority, many Democrats who are on the ballot, especially in rural red states, are considering supporting the measure.
“I’d be inclined to support it, but I’ve got to look at it,” Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT) told The Daily Beast on the day it passed the crucial House committee. “I think it makes things a lot more simpler [sic] for folks, but, like I said, I haven’t studied the bill. Haven’t really done my due diligence on it.”
Another Democrat in a pro-Trump state, South Dakota’s Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, supported a version of a concealed-carry reciprocity bill in the past, and seems likely to support this one.
“I used to manage the reciprocity system in North Dakota, and I think for a lot of people who move across state borders it can be confusing and trap people, but I need to study it,” she said.
Another pro-gun Democrat, Sen. Joe Manchin from West Virginia, said he was too busy focused on the tax bill to pay attention to anything else. But he’s also likely a “yes” vote.
It’s not a guaranteed victory. Missouri’s Sen. Claire McKaskill said it’s a “state’s rights” issue.
“I just don’t understand why we need to blow up the 10th Amendment. I don’t understand,” McCaskill told The Daily Beast. “The people who are pushing this are the same people who have been lecturing me on state’s rights for years. State’s rights are state’s rights.”
Though McCaskill may oppose the bill on its own, there is a chance that she could be forced to consider it as part of a larger package of other gun-policy-related measures. On the day the House Judiciary Committee approved the concealed carry bill, it also passed a bipartisan proposal aimed at enhancing the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, referred to as NICS. That effort has quickly picked up bipartisan support in the wake of the Texas church shooting that revealed the Air Force has failed to report domestic abuse convictions to the national database.
H/T: The Independent