The possibility of a person walking through a crowded national park, or even your local playground, with a gun concealed on his hip may not be as unlikely as it once seemed. That’s because over the past few days a remarkable amount of progress has been made on a bill that would force states to recognize concealed carry permits from other states.
It’s the National Rifle Association’s dream bill. And it is closer than it has ever been to becoming law.
This week the House Judiciary Committee passed the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017 (PDF), which also would allow off-duty officers to carry weapons in school zones, after the NRA labeled the legislation its “highest legislative priority in Congress.”
The act would force states with high barriers for obtaining those permits—like requiring firearm training, drinking-age requirements, or barring convicted stalkers from attaining a permit—to recognize gun permits from states that have lower thresholds for obtaining firearms, including issuing them to 18-year-olds and people with misdemeanors for domestic abuse.
That’s why many prosecutors and law-enforcement groups, especially from urban areas, hate the bill, but also why conservative lawmakers love it.
“We have low crime rates, and that’s because we actually have people that are carrying,” Rep. Raul Labrador (R-ID) told The Daily Beast. “The more people carry, the lower crime will be. Apparently, they like the high crime in their states.”
The bill has a whopping 210 co-sponsors in the House. Its author, Rep. Richard Hudson (R-NC), has told party leaders it has the votes to sail through the House and could be approved by the lower chamber as early as next week.
The Senate is another story, because most legislation still needs to meet the 60-vote threshold to gain approval. But even there, momentum is building. While Republicans only maintain a 52-seat majority, some vulnerable Democratic senators who are on the ballot next year are open to supporting the measure.
“I’d be inclined to support it, but I’ve got to look at it,” Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT) told The Daily Beast on the day it passed the crucial House committee. “I think it makes things a lot more simpler [sic] for folks, but, like I said, I haven’t studied the bill. Haven’t really done my due diligence on it.”
While most Democrats have been advocating for stricter gun-control measures in the wake of recent mass shootings, the calculus is different for Democrats…