Concealed Carry Bill Moves Forward In Congress

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Kerry Picket Political Reporter
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WASHINGTON — The House Judiciary Committee plans to mark up the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act this Wednesday. The bill would certify that each state recognize the concealed carry firearm credentials of other states.

Additionally, the bill mandates that states allow their own residents to carry firearms through “non-resident” permits they obtained from another state.

The House bill was introduced back in January by North Carolina Republican Rep. Richard Hudson and the corresponding Senate bill was introduced by Texas Republican Sen. John Cornyn. (RELATED: Exclusive: GOP Congressman Preps National Concealed Carry Bill For Next Congress)

The House reciprocity bill has already garnered the attention of 16 state attorneys general, who shot off a letter to Congress back in October pressing them to come out against the legislation. (RELATED: GOP Congressman Introduces Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act)

However, the National Rifle Association has pressed forward for reciprocity legislation to become a reality, despite 10 restrictive gun states — which includes California and New York — who plan to challenge the bill at every level.

“If 10 states made it a felony to read The New York Times, the media would run the story 24/7 until Congress fixed the assault on the First Amendment,” NRA chief lobbyist Chris Cox said in a 60-second ad first aired back in April. “But when 10 states criminalize the Second Amendment, the media says nothing.”

Although the passage of the bill seems like a sure bet in the House, passage in the Senate is another issue.

In 2013, 13 Democrats voted for a national reciprocity measure put forth by Sen. Cornyn. Seven of those senators — Joe Donnelly of Indiana, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, Jon Tester of Montana, Martin Heinrich of New Mexico, Tom Udall of New Mexico, Joe Manchin of West Virginia, and Mark Warner of Virginia — are still in the upper chamber. Five of those members are preparing up for their reelection in 2018. (RELATED: Gun Activists Focus On National Concealed Carry Push)

The mark-up of the House bill comes at the same time the Senate is about to vote on a tax reform package. Republicans are trying to keep their conference together to pass at least one key signature piece of legislation before the new Congress.

Connecticut Democratic Sen. Chris Murphy told reporters Monday that House Republicans are just “playing games” with the last minute timeline to get bills passed before the year’s end.

“I’m sure there are some people who want to play games with this in the House, but I don’t think Sen. Cornyn wants to play games in the Senate if he wants to get this legislation and only this legislation done by the end of the year,” said Murphy.

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