WASHINGTON — Republican North Carolina Rep. Richard Hudson believes law-abiding Americans should be allowed to carry their concealed weapons in every state, and he’s hoping the White House will help him soon make that a reality.
“I can tell you, the president’s ready to sign this law,” Hudson told The Daily Caller Wednesday in an exclusive interview on the subject for TheDC’s “Newsmakers” series.
“President Trump actually campaigned on concealed carry reciprocity,” the North Carolina Republican recalled. “We’ve got a partner in the White House and we just got to get it to his desk.”
Hudson introduced the House version of the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act on January 3, 2017, and the bill finally passed on December 6. Hudson says he spoke with the president at the time, and is set to meet with Trump’s staff this coming week.
“I spoke to [Trump] very briefly in December, and I’ve been talking with his staff,” Hudson revealed. “I’ve got a meeting actually next week over there to see what we can do together to help continue the momentum coming off this House vote.”
Currently, concealed carry reciprocity is handled individually by each state. Virginia, for instance, respects concealed carry permits issued by 25 other states.
But some states don’t look kindly on Americans who carry firearms through their jurisdiction.
Shaneen Allen, a black single mother and Pennsylvania resident, made national headlines after she was pulled over by a New Jersey cop in October 2013 for a traffic violation. During the stop, Allen — who had a concealed carry permit from Pennsylvania — alerted the officer to both her permit and the gun she had in the vehicle.
She was arrested, served over 40 days in jail, and was ultimately pardoned by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie in 2015, avoiding a possible 3- to 5-year prison sentence.
Now Allen has become one of the faces of President Trump’s commitment to change the nation’s gun laws.
“Hopefully I’ll be at the White House next to Trump signing this bill,” Allen told the Associated Press in December, following the passage of Hudson’s bill. “Republicans put their money where their mouth was.”
Hudson says he’s heard the criticisms of allowing Americans to carry in any state they please, and he doesn’t buy them.
“What it boils down to is, who are the criminals out there? What are the concerns we have with gun crime? It’s not concealed carry permit holders. Folks who go that extra mile to get the permission […], these are not your criminals.”
A Senate version of the bill — the Constitutional Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017 — introduced by Sen. John Cornyn in late February, has yet to gain traction in the upper chamber.
The primary difference between the two bills is that the Senate version requires gun owners to secure a carry permit in their home states to be recognized nationwide. The House version permits Americans to be permitted by states they don’t reside in.
The Senate legislation has 39 Republican co-sponsors, but has sat stalled for nearly 45 weeks.
Hudson resists blaming Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell outright for the delay, but is frustrated by the “archaic” legislative filibuster, which forces Republicans to wrangle 60 votes to pass any legislation through regular order.
“The Senate’s got a lot on their plate that the House doesn’t have to deal with,” Hudson conceded, citing the many appointments the Senate has to reckon with, along with Democratic maneuvers to delay nearly every vote.
“Having said that, though, I think this filibuster rule is archaic. It’s a custom. It wasn’t passed down by Moses on stone tablets. It wasn’t conceived by our founding fathers. To me, I think it’s time to put that aside and let’s do the will of the people based on a majority vote.”
“So, from that standpoint, I am frustrated with the leader,” Hudson admitted. “I wish he would, certainly on appropriations bills, we should get rid of the filibuster rules.”
Of course, McConnell’s priorities could change if the president’s do.
“The president’s strong on this issue,” Hudson concluded, “and I know his support’s there.”