Passage of the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act on a party-line 19-11 vote by the House Judiciary Committee was the first step in what promises to become a knock-down, drag-out fight, as anti-gun billionaire Michael Bloomberg’s Everytown for Gun Safety lobbying group is taking the gloves off to prevent it from becoming law.
Gun rights activists are noting the irony of the vote statistic; “1911” is the model number of the iconic semiautomatic pistol now preferred by millions of legally-armed Americans.
In an email blast following the Judiciary Committee vote, Everytown’s Rob Wilcox declared, “If passed, the law would force each state to accept the concealed carry standards of every other state, even states that have weak standards, or worse, no standards at all. This would allow dangerous individuals — including people with dangerous histories and many domestic abusers — to carry a loaded, hidden handgun across the country, putting the safety of our families and communities at risk.”
But Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte, quoted by CBS News, insisted, “This bill will not arm criminals. Nothing in this bill would allow (a convicted criminal) to purchase or possess a firearm, let alone carry one in a concealed fashion.”
Besides, criminals already carry guns illegally, even across state lines. This legislation, say proponents, would simply put law-abiding citizens on a level playing field.
According to the Canada Free Press, the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms is urging its members to contact Congress and join on as co-sponsors. There are already 213 co-sponsors for the bill, introduced by Rep. Richard Hudson (R-NC), and only three are Democrats. If the debate accomplishes nothing else, it will clearly define on which side of the gun rights battle each House member stands when the bill comes up for a floor vote.
The National Rifle Association has been encouraging its members to keep up the pressure. American gun owners have become frustrated and impatient while the bill languished in the House Committee for the past 11 months.
Anti-gun Democratic Rep. Zoe Lofgren of California zeroed in on the NRA for its lobbying efforts, declaring, “Let’s be honest: We are endangering public safety to cozy up to one of the biggest interest groups in the U.S. — the NRA,” according to CBS News.
In his email message, Everytown’s Wilcox asserted that HR 38 “would gut state gun laws and force states to accept weaker concealed carry standards of other states, and is the gun lobby’s number one priority.”
That sentiment was echoed by Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD), who alleged that the legislation would “wipe out our state law” and that it further “lowers everybody’s standards to the lowest in the union,” according to CBS.
If the reciprocity bill clears the House, it goes to the Senate, where it might face tougher opposition from anti-gun Democrats led by Senators Charles Schumer (New York), Dianne Feinstein (California), Chris Murphy and Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, along with New Jersey’s Bob Menendez and Cory Booker, and Washington’s Patty Murray.
Some in the firearms community are already lamenting on social media that the bill will never become law. Others, however, are digging in for a fight.