Gun groups, lawmakers divided on blending national reciprocity bill

With a House version of national concealed carry reciprocity measure likely to be merged with a plan to fix the nation’s background check system, not all are on board.

Marked up by committee last week, H.R.38 is scheduled for a floor vote on Wednesday while House Republicans reportedly plan to combine the bill with the language from the “FixNICS” background check legislation. The move has proved divisive among supporters of the legislative push to expand gun rights.

The National Shooting Sports Foundation, the trade organization for the firearm industry, is calling for passage of H.R. 38 as amended and the National Rifle Association is standing this week behind the bill, long considered a legislative priority, as well.

Other Second Amendment groups have taken slightly different stands, with the Washington-based Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms urging a series of tweaks to FixNics while the California-based Firearms Policy Coalition has some concerns about how it would be implemented if passed into law.

“H.R. 4477 is a well-intentioned bill that attempts to improve the NICS background check system,” said FPC spokesman Craig DeLuz in a statement. “But it does have some weaknesses that give us pause. Coming from a state with a powerful anti-gun executive branch and no shortage of gun control laws, we are very sensitive to how things actually work on the ground.”

Gun Owners of America supports national reciprocity but is characterizing the background check enhancement as the “Traffic Ticket Gun Ban” that would “add hundreds of thousands of additional names into the NICS system, thus blocking thousands of lawful gun owners from purchasing guns for offenses as slight as unpaid traffic tickets.”

Inside the larger gun culture commentariat, several social influencers to include popular YouTube channels IV8888 and the Military Arms Channel have this week railed against merging concealed carry reciprocity and FixNics as has a Kentucky Republican in the House, arguing it would be better to pass a clean bill.

Meanwhile, in the Senate, U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, sponsor of both the reciprocity and FixNICS measures in that chamber, said last week it would be a “mistake” to combine the two bills.