WASHINGTON — The House Concealed Carry Reciprocity bill passed out of the Judiciary Committee Wednesday in a vote of 19-11, but the bill faces an uphill battle.
North Carolina Republican Rep. Richard Hudson praised the bill he proposed back in January saying in a statement: “My bill is a simple, common sense solution to the confusing hodgepodge of concealed carry reciprocity agreements between states. It will affirm that law-abiding citizens who are qualified to carry concealed in one state can also carry in other states that allow residents to do so.”
He added, “I am pleased to see such strong support in committee, and I look forward to continuing this momentum and bringing the bill to the House floor as soon as possible.”
Although the bill is expected to easily pass the lower chamber when it comes to the floor, getting passage in the Senate will be more difficult.
Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn already has a reciprocity bill in the upper chamber, but he currently is working on another piece of firearms legislation known as the Fix NICs bill. This legislation, related to amending the background check system, has bipartisan support as well as support from the National Rifle Association.
Some claim that the House reciprocity bill could be combined with the Fix NICs bill to find passage in the upper chamber. However, Cornyn rejected the idea.
“I support the Constitutional carry, because I view it kind of like a driver’s license. If you have a license of one state, you shouldn’t have to get a separate license in another state, but I think it’s a mistake to try to combine this with the fix NICS background check,” Cornyn told reporters Wednesday.
The Texas Republican went on to say, “We have good bipartisan support for that. It’s really important and it will save lives, but if we start trying to add other things to it, then I think we risk not doing anything which has sort of been the fate of a lot of the legislation we’ve tried in the past. So, I’d like to do the fix NICS and then we can move on from there.”
However, the House bill could just go to the upper chamber, where it may either be combined with Cornyn’s reciprocity bill to be voted on or simply never come to the Senate floor at all for a vote this year. Republicans would then have to wait until the next Congress and start the process all over again.
When asked by The Daily Caller if he preferred to wait until the next Congress, Cornyn replied, “Well I want to I want to get this background check problem fixed as soon as possible, hopefully even this week here in the Senate. And I don’t want to do anything to bog down our ability to get that done. I do think at some point we should take up constitutional carry, because I think it’s important but combining them, I think, is to risk nothing happening.”
When pressed further by TheDC that Republicans could risk losing a vote on the issue by waiting until next year should Democrat Doug Jones win the upcoming Alabama Senate race, Cornyn responded, “I don’t think that’s a problem.”