On Wednesday, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a flawed and dangerous bill that will put our cities, law enforcement officials and residents at risk — and make our communities less safe.
The Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act (H.R. 38) will force states and municipalities across the country to disregard their laws and allow anyone to carry a concealed weapon anywhere — including in gun-free school zones.
This flawed legislation sets a dangerous precedent that would allow the laws of one state to trump the laws of the other 49 states. It also violates the Constitution’s Tenth Amendment that restricts the federal government’s ability to commandeer state and local law enforcement resources to enforce the laws of other states.
The legislation would nullify all state concealed carry regulations and enable dangerous individuals to bypass stricter requirements for carrying in their home state by allowing them to receive a concealed carry permit from one of 23 states that issue permits to non-residents with more relaxed, very minimal or no requirements. In addition, visitors from states with no concealed carry permits or restrictions will now be able to carry in any state – including in states which may have laws that could make them ineligible to carry a firearm.
We believe concealed-carry reciprocity should be the sovereign jurisdiction of the states, and the federal government should refrain from preempting states from enforcing their own concealed carry laws.
In November, the NLC passed a resolution in support of federal efforts to reduce gun violence. In addition to urging Congress to create the National Commission on Gun Violence in the United States, the resolution called on Congress to pass legislation that would:
- “Prohibit any person from knowingly transferring, purchasing, or attempting or conspiring to purchase or transfer, any firearm or ammunition from licensed or an unlicensed person on behalf of or at the request or demand of a prohibited person, known or unknown;
- Require a fully federally funded and completed background check within a reasonable time frame consistent with state and local laws for all gun sales or transfers, and requires that all unlicensed or private sellers use an FFL or participating law enforcement agency to facilitate a firearms background check through the National Instant Background Check System (NICS) on the purchase or transfer of any firearm to anyone;
- Provide increased funding and assistance to state and local governments to upload standardized real-time data to NICS;
- Provide funding to the Center for Disease Control to conduct comprehensive research to identify the underlying causes that lead to gun violence and mass shooting in communities;
- Provide federal funding for education and training in safe effective handling and secured storage of legal firearms; and
- Provide resources to the Department of Justice to work closely with State and local law enforcement to aggressively target and hold accountable licensed and unlicensed individuals who break the law by knowingly selling or transferring firearms or ammunition to prohibited persons, gun traffickers or straw purchasers.”
While we know there are common sense solutions to reducing gun violence, H.R. 38 takes a big step backwards in our fight against gun violence and our ability to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and violent people. We are urging the Senate to reject this flawed legislation and work with cities and local elected leaders to find solutions that would reduce gun violence in our neighborhoods and make our communities safer.
Yucel (“u-jel”) Ors is the program director of public safety and crime prevention at the National League of Cities. Follow Yucel on Twitter at @nlcpscp.