U.S. House passes bill to broaden conceal-carry reciprocity laws despite Buck’s vote against

Author: Jessica Machetta - December 6, 2017 - Updated: December 7, 2017

red flag(Allexxandar, istockphoto)

Those with concealed carry licenses would be able to carry concealed firearms in other states under a bill passed by the U.S. House.

The “Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act,” backed by the National Rifle Association and other gun-rights groups, passed 231-198 in the House and now moves to the Senate, where Democrats are expected to block the measure.

“Instead of taking up real legislation on assault weapons or bump stocks, House GOP’s bill will let the states with the weakest gun laws control other states,” Rep. Ed Perlmutter, D-Colo., said on Twitter. “That’s wrong and unconstitutional.”

Fellow Democrat Diana DeGette said on Twitter that “Coloradans shouldn’t have to adopt others states’ reckless gun violence prevention standards, but that’s exactly what #HR38 will do. If this bill becomes law, Coloradans would be in greater peril. I refuse to let that happen without a fight.”

DeGette said in a press release that she voted against the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act (H.R. 38) because it would weaken standards for public safety in many states, including Colorado.

“This bill gives the weakest state standards on gun violence prevention the force of law nationwide,” she said. “Compelling state legislatures to adopt the concealed carry standards of other states will only undermine the protections that their citizens have come to expect their elected officials to uphold.”

“If this bill passes the Senate and is signed into law, Coloradans would be in greater peril. I refuse to let our communities face such mindless and needless danger without a fight,” DeGette said.

Republican Rep. Mike Coffman voted in favor of the bill, saying it would provide grant funding to states to improve reporting compliance.

“Concealed Carry Reciprocity is a common sense policy that will protect every state’s ability to control where concealed firearms can be legally carried,” he said in a statement. “Like drivers licenses, concealed carry permit holders from out of state will still have to know and abide by Colorado laws.”

Coffman says the bill also holds federal agencies accountable “to ensure criminals are properly entered into the background check system.”

Rep. Ken Buck, R-Colo., was one of 14 Republicans who crossed party lines and voted against the measure.

“I strongly supported the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act, but could not vote for it in this combined bill. I have concerns that the NICS portion of the legislation places Americans at risk for having their Second Amendment rights stripped without due process,” Buck said.

Rep. Jared Polis, D-CO, says if this bill is signed into law, a person who is barred from buying a gun in one state can travel to another state with weaker gun laws, receive a permit, and carry that gun legally anywhere he wants, even in the state where he was originally refused a permit.

“Colorado already has reciprocal concealed carry agreements with 33 other states that have high standards for background checks,” Polis said in a statement. “After the Columbine shooting, Coloradans chose to enact sensible gun safety laws, voting to close the gun show loophole. The Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act undercuts states’ rights and gun safety laws that other states have adopted.”

The National Rifle Association applauded the vote, saying it “marks a watershed moment for Second Amendment rights.”

“The Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act is the culmination of a 30-year movement recognizing the right of all law-abiding Americans to defend themselves, and their loved ones, including when they cross state lines,” Chris W. Cox, NRA executive director, said in a statement.

Cox contends the law would eliminate the “confusing patchwork of state laws that have ensnared otherwise law-abiding gun owners, and have forced law enforcement to waste their precious time and resources enforcing laws that don’t do anything to reduce violent crime,” Cox said.

The NRA and other proponents of the bill say codifying the law would also improve the National Instant Criminal Background Check System by more regularly uploading criminal records to the system, thereby identifying prohibited persons. By the same token, it would remove records of those who are added to the list erroneously, the NRA says.

Jessica Machetta