Senate Gun Bill Poison Pill: Proposed Bill Would Provide Conceal Carry Reciprocity?!

April 13th, 2013

I guess we will have to pass this law to find out what’s inside:

As the Senate prepares to begin debate next week on the biggest gun-control bill in nearly two decades, the gun rights lobby and its Senate allies are working on a series of amendments that could have the opposite effect — loosening many of the restrictions that exist in current law.

Most worrisome to those who advocate new gun limits is an expected amendment that would achieve one of the National Rifle Association’s biggest goals: a “national reciprocity” arrangement, in which a gun owner who receives a permit to carry a concealed weapon in any one state would then be allowed to do that anywhere in the country. Other pro-gun proposals would make it easier for dealers to sell their merchandise between states or let certain people who had been treated for mental illness regain the right to buy weapons.

The freewheeling Senate chamber has always been a place where legislation can take an abrupt detour. But rarely has there been so much potential for unpredictable turns as on gun legislation, where allegiances break down not along party lines, but along regional ones and an urban-rural divide.

With this law, I could legally carry a gun in New York City with my CCW. Something like this would really piss of Chuck Schumer. Read on.

Few proposals are likely to spark as much controversy as the one regarding concealed weapons. The NRA has lobbied successfully in dozens of states for concealed-carry permit programs, and winning “national reciprocity” has been a long-held goal for the group.

“Congress should recognize that the right to self-defense does not end at state lines,” NRA lobbyist Chris W. Cox said in a statement issued last month, when the proposal was introduced in the Senate.

Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) described the measure this week as “the most pernicious” proposal under consideration.

“Somebody could come from Wyoming to the big cities of New York or New Haven or Bridgeport and carry a concealed weapon, which is so against our way of life, and the needs here in New York,” Schumer said.

The reciprocity proposal was last put to a vote by the Senate in 2009 and received 58 votes — just two short of the necessary 60.

Gun-control advocates are studying that earlier vote tally in hopes of identifying Democrats they can persuade to switch sides and oppose the reciprocity provision.

Methinks this is an NRA poison pill that could kill the bill.

If the reciprocity proposal passes in the form desired by gun rights advocates, those on both sides think it could jeopardize the entire gun-control bill.

It would make the bill unacceptable “because it so significantly overrides and undermines the states’ ability to set public safety laws,” said Arkadi Gerney, a senior fellow at the liberal Center for American Progress.

Added Richard Feldman, a former NRA lobbyist who now heads the Independent Firearm Owners Association: “Part of me likes [the reciprocity provision], but from a legislative strategy, it becomes a killer amendment. The same votes that would be for background checks, lots of them would vote no on the final bill.”

Update: I have opposed similar federal efforts to force states to recognize other CCWs as inconsistent with federalism, see here and here.