Friday, March 3, 2017

New Federal Law Would Preempt State Firearm Laws

The NRA can hardly contain itself now that there’s a Republican president, and a Republican-controlled House and Senate. The gun rights organization has been working overtime to craft new laws to expand gun rights and degrade the ability of states to make their own decisions on what constitute sensible gun law — like keeping guns out of the hands of the mentally ill.

The Constitutional Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act, S.498, would allow gun owners who have a concealed carry permit in their home state — Texas, for example —to bring their firearms in any other state with concealed-carry laws, even if those states have tougher gun laws, like Washington State’s tougher background checks, and Extreme Risk Protection Order.

In 2014, Washington became the first state in the nation to pass a universal background checks law by voter initiative. The law requires all private sales of firearms to be conducted through a federally licensed firearms dealer who will conduct a background check on the private buyer. Washington also requires law enforcement to run a background check before returning a confiscated firearm.

Getting back to S.498, “This operates more or less like a driver’s license,” said Sen. John Cornyn (Texas). Yeah, like one of those enhanced licenses that lets you commit vehicular homicide across state lines.

Gun control groups say the bill poses a significant danger for society at a time when lawmakers should be strengthening background checks to address recent shootings — almost 10,000 people have been shot in America in 2017.

According to Everytown for Gun Safety President John Feinblatt, “Federally imposed concealed carry laws interfere with states’ fundamental right to determine who is too dangerous to carry hidden, loaded guns in public”.

Cornyn’s bill would allow states with the “weakest gun laws to trump the reasonable judgments” of others, since people who qualify for concealed carry permits in some states would get to carry their guns into places with tougher requirements.

If you disagree with this bill, as I do, contact Patty Murray [(202) 224-2621] and Maria Cantwell [(202) 224-3441], as I have, and ask that they oppose S.498.

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