Filed just over a month ago, legislation to treat concealed carry permits like drivers’ licenses nationwide is gaining steam in Congress but picking up opponents.
Introduced by U.S. Rep. Richard Hudson, R-NC, and 63 co-sponsors on the first day of session in the new House, Indiana Republican Trey Hollingsworth became the 150th lawmaker to lend his name to the measure last week.
Hudson has taken to the airwaves repeatedly in the last several weeks to stump for his proposal and push back against what he sees as misinformation about his legislation.
“It’s flat out false to say that this bill will arm criminals or increase gun violence,” wrote Hudson in an op-ed published in U.S. News on Feb. 1. “If a criminal with malice wants to get a gun, I can guarantee he or she isn’t worried about following the laws on the books. Unfortunately, we can’t change that. But we can ensure law-abiding citizens can legally carry concealed firearms to defend themselves.”
Hudson’s Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017, entered as H.R. 38, would amend federal law to allow those eligible to possess a firearm to have a concealed handgun in any state that allows individuals to carry a pistol or revolver. Those who do so would have to carry a valid permit with them as well as a photo ID. The bill also applies to nonresident permit holders.
While Second Amendment groups have hailed the measure, citing it will help bridge the often confusing patchwork of state laws that can leave those traveling while armed in violation of local mandates, gun control advocates argue the move is dangerous.
Capt. Mark Kelly, co-founder with his wife– former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords — of Americans for Responsible Solutions noted in a CNN opinion piece that national reciprocity violates states’ rights and constitutes a public safety threat.
The measure has been referred to the Republican-controlled House Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations, though a hearing date is not currently on the calendar. The ranking Democrat on the subcommittee, Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas, has in the past vehemently opposed concealed carry reciprocity proposals.
Updated Feb. 8 to make clear that the bill applies to nonresident permit holders as well.