Stephen Willeford was barefoot when he shot at the man who had taken 26 lives at First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, TX. Armed with just his A-12 and an excellent shot, he and Johnnie Langendorff became the unlikely heroes of an otherwise tragic day for the Lone Star State.
While shrouded in tragic circumstances, this story illustrates the power of everyday Americans exercising their fundamental, constitutional right to bear arms.
As your elected representatives, it is our duty to ensure that these rights are safeguarded and properly enforced, as it is also our duty to ensure that current laws are enforced to prevent dangerous, unstable people from having access to firearms.
This is why the House voted to pass the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017 (HR 38). Sponsored by Rep. Richard Hudson (R-NC), this legislation:
- Protects Americans’ constitutional rights by ensuring that law-abiding citizens’ Second Amendment rights do not end when they cross state lines. It allows people with a state-issued concealed carry license or permit, or individuals who are citizens of states that do not require a permit to carry a concealed firearm, to carry a concealed handgun in any other state that also allows concealed carry, as long as the individual follows the laws of that state.
- Enhances Public Safety. The facts show that citizens who carry a concealed handgun are not only better prepared to act in their own self-defense, but also in the defense of others. A 2013 peer-reviewed study in Applied Economic Letters, found that between 1980 and 2009, “states with more restrictive concealed carry laws had gun-related murder rates that were 10% higher.” Additionally, a 2013 survey of 15,000 current and retired police officers found that more than 90% of them support the concealed carry of guns by civilians.
- Strengthens Federal Firearms Background Check System. Included in this bill is the bipartisan, bicameral bill, Fix NICS Act, which ensures that federal and state authorities comply with existing law and report criminal history records to National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). The Fix NICS Act penalizes federal agencies that fail to report relevant criminal records to the FBI, incentivizes states to improve their reporting, and directs federal funding to make sure domestic violence records are accurately reported to the FBI.
(courtesy of the House Judiciary Committee)
Currently, every state in the United State allows, in some form or another, for concealed carry.
The specific laws vary from state-to-state, creating a bureaucratic mess for those who need or wish to cross state lines with their legally-licensed firearms. This legislation would end the hodgepodge.
Imagine if this were the same case with your driver’s license.
Your driver’s license is a state-issued document that certifies you are both capable and legally allowed to drive a car. That license isn’t invalidated when crossing state lines, as you are still capable and legally certified to operate your vehicle. This legislation does the same. But to take it one step further, if we allow a driver’s license for driving – which is a privilege, not a right – then we can most certainly do the same for the Second Amendment which is a right, not a privilege.
“My bill is a simple, commonsense solution – it will affirm that law-abiding citizens who are qualified to carry concealed firearms in one state can also carry in other states that allow residents to do so.”
-Rep. Richard Hudson (R-NC)
As with every piece of legislation regarding your Second Amendment rights, the critics are loud.
No, this legislation will not make it easier for dangerous parties to purchase firearms.
No, this legislation will not allow people to carry who shouldn’t be allowed to possess firearms in the first place.
No, passing nationwide concealed carry reciprocity will not arm criminals or increase gun violence.
For more examples and how to answer these misconceptions, see the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act Myth v. Facts.
At the end of the day, this is about ensuring the safety and security of the American people while enacting commonsense regulations to standardize cross-state carry reciprocity. Self-defense is a fundamental right, and it was the Supreme Court that ruled that “the inherent right of self-defense has been central to the Second Amendment right,” which is, “the individual right to possess and carry weapons in case of confrontation.” (District of Columbia v. Heller 2008).