A bill that would allow citizens to carry concealed handguns over state lines is catching harsh criticism from opponents in the wake of the Trayvon Martin shooting.
The bill is the brainchild of Senators David Witter and John Thune, Republicans of Louisiana and South Dakota, respectively. They call it the “Respecting States’ Rights and Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act,” and what the bill does is pretty much all right there in the name.
Basically, if you’re allowed to carry a concealed gun in your home state, then that alone should be enough to let you carry a weapon in just about any other state. The central ideas driving the bill are to streamline an already complicated licensing process, and to make the national right to bear arms a bit more accessible.
Unsurprisingly, a few restrictions would still apply. Illinois and Washington DC don’t issue concealed carry permits, so your out-of-state concealed carry permit wouldn’t fly in these regions. Also, you’d have to respect all state-specific laws, so if you enter a state that bans weapons on college campuses then you’ll be required to follow the rules.
Even though this bill would be incredibly effective at simplifying state-to-state gun laws, the Trayvon Martin incident is giving opponents plenty of ammunition. Senator Dianne Feinstein, a California Democrat, is doing everything within her power to oppose the bill, calling it “dangerous” and saying that it would “undermine state’s rights.” Additionally, the Brady Campaign to End Gun Violence recently participated in a news conference in DC to share the pain that they experienced because of guns.
It’s a shame that the recent events in Florida are making people doubt a perfectly sensible bill, but hopefully the Senate won’t let a news fervor limit the rights of American citizens.