Police lobby group urges lawmakers to scuttle national reciprocity

A coalition of police chiefs with a history of supporting gun control initiatives are taking aim at national concealed carry legislation, saying it could “sow chaos.”

The National Law Enforcement Partnership to Prevent Gun Violence, composed of an alliance of various police chief lobbying groups, on Friday penned a letter to Congress urging lawmakers to decline support for a pair of national concealed carry reciprocity bills. The measures, the H.R. 38 and S.446, respectively, would expand carry rights nationwide, in effect forcing states and local jurisdictions to respect all valid concealed carry permits, a move the group feels is a mistake.

“These misguided bills would preempt local and state perspectives on what’s best for communities by forcing states to accept weaker concealed carry standards of other states and eliminates every state’s ability to determine who may exercise the enormous responsibility of carrying a firearm, concealed or otherwise,” says the three-page letter.

The group contends that law enforcement agencies on average require 92 hours of firearms training before certifying police officers and that many states, in contrast, have no training mandate for those with concealed carry permits. They argue individuals from a dozen constitutional carry states, which do not require permits for carrying a firearm, could complicate matters for officers on stops outside of their home states, and “sow chaos.”

The partnership has repeatedly called for expanding mandatory background checks on all firearms transfers and in 2015 urged increased funds and a new director for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

The move by the group to oppose national reciprocity drew acclaim from gun control advocates.

“‘Concealed Carry Reciprocity’ would create chaos for law enforcement and put police in danger for doing their jobs,” said Everytown President John Feinblatt in a statement. “It would not create a national standard for who can carry hidden, loaded guns in public – instead it would make the weakest link the law of the land by forcing every state in the nation to accept the concealed carry standards of every other state, no matter how different, how weak or how nonexistent those standards may be.”