States have granted permits for individuals to carry concealed weapons such as guns for some time now.
Some states have restrictive laws about it. In New York, a person must undergo safety training and have live-fire experience. They also must fill out lots of paperwork and have no criminal record.
Other states grant concealed carry permits with far fewer restrictions. Some states do not require a permit.
Most people who carry a concealed weapon know about the permit laws in their state. But they may not be familiar with others states’ laws.
Arrested for Crossing State Lines with a Weapon
Even when people have permits to carry concealed firearms, they may not be able to cross state lines with those weapons. The other state may only allow it with certain restrictions.
Among those arrested for doing this unknowingly is Shaneen Allen. This mother of two in Philadelphia was arrested for crossing from Pennsylvania into New Jersey with a loaded handgun.
Another is former U.S. Marine Elizabeth Elderli of Texas. Police arrested her in New York for carrying two loaded pistols.
But last week, Republican House Representatives took a step toward changing this situation.
Will Concealed Carry Permits Become Like Driver’s Licenses?
Their Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act would make concealed carry a nationally recognized permit. Basically, it forces states to honor another state’s concealed carry permit.
Concealed carry permits would be treated like driver’s licenses. They are valid in any state.
The House bill passed by a 231-198 vote. But the upcoming battle in the Senate might not produce the same result.
Republicans would need more than a majority to overcome a possible Democratic filibuster.
Controversial Bill Could Struggle in Senate
Needless to say, this is a controversial matter. Recent deadly mass shootings in Las Vegas, Nevada and Sutherland Springs, Texas, have changed the mood about guns.
Even among Republicans in the House, 14 voted against this bill. Six Democrats voted for it.
To get it passed in the House, supporters added stipulations. This included better reporting of legal and mental health records to the national background check system.
Those additions might not be enough to get the bill passed – at least in its current form – in the Senate.
NRA Praises Bill’s House Passage
Regardless, the National Rifle Association (NRA) is celebrating the House decision. NRA Executive Director Chris W. Cox called it a “watershed moment” for Second Amendment rights.
He added this. “This bill ensures that all law-abiding citizens in our great country can protect themselves in the manner they see fit. Without accidentally running afoul of the law.”
Representative Richard Hudson of North Carolina is the bill’s sponsor. Here’s what he said after the bill passed in the House:
“For the millions of law-abiding citizens who lawfully carry concealed to protect themselves, for conservatives who want to strengthen our Second Amendment rights, and for the overwhelming majority of Americans who support concealed carry reciprocity, Christmas came early.”
Opponents Say Trouble Lies Ahead
Those opposed to the House bill said it would jeopardize public safety. And it would set a dangerous precedent for overriding states’ rights to determine their own laws.
Representative Jerrold Nadler of New York agreed. He said, “The answer to our national problem of gun violence is not that we need more people carrying concealed firearms on our streets.”
Former Arizona Representative Gabrielle Giffords left the House after becoming a victim of gun violence. She said about the bill, “Congress has failed the American people.”
Giffords added this. “I’m angry that with shootings on the rise, the response from politicians is to sell out to the gun lobby and weaken our public safety laws. I’m angry that when this country is begging for courage from our leaders, they are responding with cowardice.”
Rise in Women Seeking Concealed Carry Permits
Recently there has been a big increase in the number of people requesting concealed carry permits.
In July 2016, there were 14.5 million Americans with concealed carry permits. As of May 2017, there were 15.7 million.
One of the reasons for the growth has been the rise of women gaining these permits. The growth rate for women requesting concealed carry permits was twice that of the growth rate for men between 2012 and 2016.
Some people believe that responsible citizens carrying loaded guns will decrease the number of mass shootings. Others argue the opposite.
What Do You Think?
How about you? What are your thoughts?
Do you believe concealed carry should be a nationally recognized permit? Or would you rather individual states be allowed to determine their own requirements?
Please leave a comment below and tell us your thoughts. We’d love to hear from you.
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