Gun control groups: National CCW reciprocity a public safety 'nightmare'

Gun control organizations are characterizing legislation introduced to recognize individual concealed handgun carry permits nationwide as dangerous and “a dream for the gun lobby.”

Everytown for Gun Safety and Moms Demand Action issued a joint statement Monday on the heels of the debut of Texas Republican U.S. Sen. John Cornyn’s national concealed carry reciprocity bill, condemning the measure.

Everytown President John Feinblatt argued the National Rifle Association-approved legislation, should it become law, would lower the bar for carry standards from coast to coast.

“Senator Cornyn’s bill is a dream for the gun lobby and a nightmare for public safety,” said Feinblatt. “For centuries, cities and states have set their own reasonable, tailored limits on who can carry hidden, loaded guns in their public spaces. One size does not fit all, and this NRA-backed bill would only make the weakest link the law of the land – gutting America’s public safety laws.”

Cornyn’s proposal, his third of the same type since 2013, was introduced Monday as S.446 with 30 Republican co-sponsors. It is a companion to North Carolina Republican U.S. Rep. Richard Hudson’s H.R. 38 introduced last month in the House, which currently has 160 co-sponsors, in seeking to make concealed carry permits valid nationwide.

As noted by Hudson’s office, the measure would allow law-abiding citizens with a state-issued carry license to conceal a handgun in any other state that allows concealed carry, as long as the permit holder follows the laws of that state. It also grants residents of Constitutional carry — otherwise known as permitless carry — states the ability to carry in other states that “recognize their own residents’ right to concealed carry.”

Some states, like Texas, have very flexible reciprocity, recognizing concealed carry permits from as many as 35 others. At the other end of the spectrum, others such as Illinois, recognize none but their own. This can lead to incidents where otherwise legally carrying permit holders can be ensnared in a legal catch-22 while traveling should they cross into a state that does not recognize their permit.

The NRA welcomed the proposal while countering some opposition assertions.

“This legislation would not override state laws governing the time, place or manner of carriage or establish national standards for concealed carry,” reads an alert from the NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action. “Individual state gun laws would still be respected. If under federal law a person is prohibited from carrying a firearm, they will continue to be prohibited from doing so under this bill.”

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