ACTION ALERT: Block the NRA's Plan to Legalize Concealed Weapons Nationwide
December 9, 2017
CREDO Action & Dana Liebelson / The Huffington Post & The Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence & Timothy Johnson / Media Matters
It would be laughable if it weren't so deadly. Here's how Republicans have finally moved beyond their thoughts and prayers for the victims of gun violence -- with a reckless, dangerous bill to undermine gun safety laws across the country. The right-wing Republican extremists in the House have passed an NRA dream bill -- The Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act -- that would force every state in the US to abide by the weakest state gun laws in the entire country -- a "guns everywhere" vision for America.
ACTION ALERT: Senate Democrats:
Stop the NRA. Block Concealed Carry Reciprocity
(December 8, 2017) -- It would be laughable if it weren't so deadly. Here's how Republicans have finally moved beyond their thoughts and prayers for the victims of gun violence -- with a reckless, dangerous bill to undermine gun safety laws across the country.
The right-wing Republican extremists in the House of Representatives just passed the National Rifle Association's (NRA) dream bill. (1) The Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act would undermine state efforts to protect residents from gun violence and force every state to abide by the weakest gun laws in the country.
With Republicans in control of the House and the Senate and NRA-lackey Donald Trump in the White House, the NRA wants to ramp up its extremist agenda on a national scale. Republicans are so beholden to the NRA that they will do their bidding.
Democratic senators have the power to block the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act. Can you add your name today to make sure they act as a firewall between our communities and the NRA's "guns everywhere" vision for America?
Every state allows some kind of concealed carry, but 39 states require a gun owner to obtain a permit before publicly carrying concealed weapons in public. (2) Some of those states require training before residents can get those permits.
Some states block people who have committed violent crimes, domestic abusers, stalkers or people with mental illness that make them a danger to themselves or others from buying a gun or getting a concealed carry permit. Nearly every state restricts residents from carrying concealed weapons in places like schools, hospitals, government buildings or bars. (3)
The Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act uses the differences between states' gun control laws to water down protections across the country. It forces states to recognize concealed carry permits issued by any other state, no matter how lax the state's permitting standards are. (4)
It will encourage people, including domestic abusers, who cannot get a concealed carry license in one state to "permit shop:" applying in another state with weaker laws and bringing their gun back to the state where they live. (5) A resident of a state whose legislature has stood up for public safety and passed gun control legislation would be no safer than a resident of a state whose legislature is in the pocket of the NRA.
Years of statistics prove that comprehensive state gun laws lead to fewer gun deaths, but the NRA wants to undermine public safety by advancing a reckless, dangerous policy like concealed carry reciprocity. (6)
ACTION:Senate Democrats must use their power to reject the NRA's extremism and block this deadly bill.
Tell Senate Democrats: Block the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act
Thanks for standing up to the NRA today.
1. Dana Liebelson, "One Month After Texas Church Shooting, House Republicans Vote To Expand Gun Rights," HuffPost, Dec. 6, 2017.
2. Michele Gorman, "Guns in America: What is national concealed carry reciprocity?" Newsweek, April 10, 2017.
4. Everytown for Gun Safety, "Federally Mandated Concealed Carry Reciprocity," accessed Dec. 6, 2017.
5. Polly Mosendz, "Get Ready for Concealed Guns in All 50 States," Bloomberg Politics, Nov. 30, 2017.
6. Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, "2016 Gun Law State Scorecard," accessed Dec. 6, 2017.
One Month After Texas Church Shooting,
House Republicans Vote To Expand Gun Rights
The Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act
shows where GOP priorities lie
Dana Liebelson / The Huffington Post
WASHINGTON (December 6, 2017) -- House Republicans passed legislation on Wednesday that would force states to honor concealed carry permits issued in other states, including those with far looser regulations. The bill's advancement is a major win for the National Rifle Association, while opponents fear the measure will endanger Americans, particularly domestic violence victims.
The 231-198 vote, largely on party lines, comes one month after a shooter killed 26 people in a church in Sutherland Springs, Texas -- about half of them children -- and roughly two months after 58 people were shot to death at a concert in Las Vegas.
"How can we face the families of these people and say this bill is the best we could do?" Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) asked on Wednesday.
The Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act would treat concealed carry permits more like driver's licenses, meaning that anyone who is allowed to carry a hidden firearm in one state could legally carry the weapon across state lines.
This would have a particularly dramatic impact in places like New York City, which has very tough concealed carry restrictions but would have to honor the permits from other states, including those like Vermont that require no permits.
The concealed carry measure, which the House coupled with a modest background check fix, is considered dead on arrival in the Senate, as Republicans would need support from a number of Democrats to overcome a filibuster there. But the House vote still illustrates congressional priorities as Americans grapple with the worst mass shootings in recent history.
Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) said that currently, "those traveling or living on the border of a state that does not recognize their home state's laws could have their gun rights stripped when they cross state lines. That's wrong."
She added, "This bill is crucial to protecting our constitutional rights."
Gun rights advocates have long pushed concealed carry reciprocity as a way to ensure that "good guys with a gun" can more easily travel with their firearms. But the bill reduces concealed carry standards to the weakest state link, opponents argue, and that has some law enforcement officials worried.
Right now, under federal law, certain domestic abusers are not permitted to own firearms. But federal law does not cover dating partners or stalkers. Many, but not all, states have passed their own laws to fill in the gaps, HuffPost's Melissa Jeltsen noted.
So under the bill, an abuser blocked from obtaining a concealed carry permit in Massachusetts, because he was convicted of sexually assaulting his girlfriend, could obtain a permit in neighboring New Hampshire, which does not have the same limits on concealed carry, according to an analysis by Everytown for Gun Safety.
"Domestic violence victims often flee to other states," Lindsay Nichols, federal policy director at the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, told HuffPost earlier this week. "This bill would embolden many abusers who currently cannot carry a gun to cross state lines armed to continue the abuse."
The fact that the bill isn't expected to move in the Senate is not much reassurance for many advocates who want Congress to focus on actual gun violence prevention efforts. But there was one slightly less dim spot for them on Wednesday: Congress held a hearing on bump stocks, an accessory used by the Las Vegas gunman that allows semi-automatics to shoot more like fully automatic weapons. Restricting bump stocks has unusually broad support; even the NRA backs additional regulations.
But it's taken Congress more than two months since the Las Vegas shooting to hold the hearing. And it's unclear whether the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives can impose restrictions on these devices without Congress.
"Why should the United States of America be the only rich country in the world that cannot protect our families from gun violence? It doesn't have to be this way," said Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.).
Gun Law State Scorecard:
How Does Your State Stack Up?
The Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence
At this point, the scale of America's gun violence epidemic should be a surprise to no one. 2016 brought the worst mass shooting in our country's history, with 102 people shot at the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando. Chicago reported its most murders -- over 700 -- in 20 years. More than 20,000 people kill themselves with a gun every year, and over one million Americans have been victims of gun violence in the past decade.
Gun violence takes a number of different forms, and so do its solutions. No one policy will stop every shooting, but what we do know -- because our research shows it, year after year -- is that when taken in the aggregate, smart gun laws have a significant impact on public safety. They save lives.
The premise of the Law Center's annual Gun Law State Scorecard is simple. Our legal experts evaluate every state's gun laws, assign grades, and compare those grades with the state's most recent gun death rate. Consistently, we see a powerful correlation: states with stronger laws have fewer gun deaths per capita while states with weaker laws have more gun deaths.
2016 brought increased public outcry over gun violence, as well as real progress at the state level, with a flurry of new gun laws passed, including ballot initiatives in three states. But, with 25 states scoring an F for their gun laws, clearly there is so much more work to be done. Use the map above to see how your state stacks up and learn about the steps your lawmakers can take to save lives in 2017.
Year after year, our data shows the same thing: smart, comprehensive gun laws lead to fewer gun deaths.
DOES YOUR STATE MAKE THE GRADE?
Copyright, The Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence.
Media Fails to Cover Pro-gun impacts
Timothy Johnson / Media Matters for America
Leading gun violence researcher says:
Media have a responsibility to cover
the "harmful effects" of Congress' efforts
to radically gut laws for carrying firearms in public
(December 7, 2017) -- As Republicans in the US House of Representatives move to loosen standards nationwide on gun owners carrying their weapons in public, one of the most prominent gun violence researchers in the United States is imploring media to "not just cover the politics" of the proposed legislation but also "the harmful effects" permissive concealed carry laws already have on public safety.
The House is poised to vote today on H.R. 38, the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017, to advance the National Rifle Association's top legislative priority. The legislation would mandate that states recognize concealed carry permits issued by all other states, even though standards for carrying a gun in public vary dramatically.
In a last-minute move, Republican backers of the bill are combining H.R. 38 with legislation that would ensure records that disqualify people from passing a background check are submitted into the National Instant Criminal Background Check System.
The move endangers the prospect of a broadly backed bill to improve that system by pairing it with legislation that researchers and law enforcement groups warn will have a deleterious impact on public safety.
In an email interview with Media Matters, Dr. Daniel Webster, the director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research, explained the public safety stakes of weakening laws nationwide for carrying guns in public, and urged media to not just cover the "politics" of the fight over the legislation "but the reality of the already lax concealed gun carry laws, the harmful effects of those laws, and convey how radically national [concealed carry reciprocity] would change gun laws in the US"
Asked about the public safety implications of lax concealed carry laws, Webster cited peer-reviewed studies to explain that "the latest and strongest research on de-regulating civilian concealed carry of firearms indicates that this is a path toward more, not less violence, more not fewer deaths."
Debunking the myth that more people carrying guns in public would be a panacea to mass public shooting incidents, Webster pointed to widespread and permissive carrying of guns in public as a reason for -- not the solution to -- high levels of gun violence in the United States, writing:
"The argument that our high rate of mass shootings or other gun violence is due to insufficient numbers of civilians carrying concealed guns is not consistent with other research. The US has relatively 'normal' levels of aggression and violence as other high-income western democracies, but our homicide rates are about 6 times higher than the average for those other countries."
Media Matters also asked Webster about concerns expressed by critics of H.R. 38 that states have inconsistent standards for issuing permits to individuals who have histories of domestic violence, violent misdemeanors, or multiple convictions for driving under the influence.
Webster told Media Matters that "the research shows that these are all high-risk groups," explaining that "allowing such individuals, especially those with recent history of violence or reckless behavior like DUI, to carry concealed loaded firearms in public, in my opinion, is bad for public safety. We know when it comes to firearm prohibitions for violent misdemeanants, such restrictions have been linked to reduced violent crime and intimate partner homicide."
States also have different requirements for gun owners to get safety training before they are allowed to carry a gun in public, with some states requiring no training at all. While noting that there are "no rigorous studies on the efficacy of gun safety training," Webster said that nonetheless "law enforcement and military officials have recognized that rigorous and repeated training is necessary to hone skills necessary if someone is going to effectively and responsibly use firearms in response in high stress situations.
Requiring a reasonable amount of safety training also results in fewer people carrying guns who are not committed to safety."
Speaking on the media's responsibility to cover the reciprocity push generally, Webster urged the press to cover the real world impacts of permissive concealed carry, stating, "This is really important legislation that could harm public safety."
Posted in accordance with Title 17, Section 107, US Code, for noncommercial, educational purposes.