WASHINGTON — Legislation that enables concealed carry holders in different states to carry legally in other states comes to the House floor for a vote Wednesday.
North Carolina Republican Rep. Richard Hudson’s Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act (H.R. 38) was voted out of the House Judiciary Committee last week following a contentious mark up along party lines.
“An overwhelming majority of Americans support concealed carry reciprocity. Momentum, common sense, and the facts are on our side,” said Rep. Hudson. “I want to thank Speaker Paul Ryan for his strong support of the Second Amendment, and I urge my colleagues to support this common sense bill to protect law-abiding citizens.”
The legislation has pitted states with more restrictive gun laws against states with less restrictions. Attorneys general of 24 states sent a letter to Congress showing their support of the legislation. However, attorneys general of 17 other states sent members their own letter calling on Congress to vote against such a bill.
“States should not be able to deny citizens of the United States the basic constitutional right to self-defense,” Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley said in the letter he organized with 23 other states. “Missouri has chosen to respect the rights of residents and non-residents to carry arms for self-defense. I ask Congress to protect these same rights for law-abiding Missourians as they travel throughout the United States.”
The other letter, though, shows a sharp disagreement and calls for members to reject the bill.
“With the worst shooting in American history fresh in our memory, we urge you and your colleagues to reject these ill-conceived bills,” reads the letter led by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, the Associated Press reported.
“Currently, the patchwork of reciprocity laws and agreements between states is confusing and has caused law-abiding citizens like Shaneen Allen to unwittingly break the law and suffer arrest and detention. Even the most careful and knowledgeable concealed carry permit holders find it difficult to navigate the current maze of state and local concealed carry laws. H.R. 38 is a common-sense solution,” Hudson’s office said in a statement.
The bill, which is supported by groups like the National Rifle Association and Gun Owners of America, would allow law-abiding citizens with a state-issued concealed carry credentials to carry a concealed firearm in any other state that allows concealed carry. Residents in more gun restrictive states can obtain non-resident credentials from other states to carry a firearm in their own state.
When concealed carry permit holders are not in their state of residence, they must abide by all the gun laws of the state they are in.
H.R. 38 is expected to pass the House but will find considerably more obstacles in Senate as it will need 60 votes before a final simple majority vote. Thirteen Democrats in the upper chamber voted for concealed carry reciprocity in 2013 and seven of those members are still in the Senate.