|National Right-To-Carry Reciprocity Bill Introduced Democrats Scramble to Block Thune Gun Amendment|
Both CT Senators Vote NO! Dodd- Nay; Lieberman- Nay. – REMEMBER!
Concealed guns law rejected in close Senate vote
By JIM ABRAMS ASSOCIATED PRESS WRITER
WASHINGTON -- The Senate on Wednesday rejected letting people carry hidden guns in 48 states if they have a concealed weapon permit in any one of them, a rare victory for gun control advocates in a Democratic-controlled Congress that has been friendly to the gun lobby.
Opponents said it would force states with tough concealed weapon permit restrictions to let in gun carriers from states that give permits to convicted criminals, minors and people with no firearms training.
"It's extremely dangerous policy," said Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., noting that her state demands fingerprinting, federal background checks, a course of training, and verification by a local sheriff before issuing a permit to carry a concealed gun.
A strong majority of the Senate, in a 58-39 vote, supported the measure, which would require most states to honor the concealed weapons permits issued by other states. But the tally was two votes short of the 60 votes needed to add the measure as an amendment to a defense bill.
Twenty Democrats, mainly from western or rural states, joined all but two Republicans in voting for the measure, which was promoted by the National Rifle Association and other gun rights groups. They included Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada and both Democratic senators from Colorado, Arkansas, Montana, North Dakota and Virginia.
There were also notable defections. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., and Sen. Arlen Specter, D-Pa., who voted to strip the District of Columbia of its gun control laws last February, opposed the concealed weapon measure. Specter was a Republican at the time of the previous vote.
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, a pro-gun rights Democrat who faces a primary challenge next year in a state with strong gun control sentiments, also opposed it. "I strongly believe that the gun laws that are right for New York are not necessarily right for South Dakota, and vice versa," she said.
NRA executive vice president Wayne LaPierre told The Associated Press that, despite the defeat, the vote showed that "we have the wind to our back." He called the vote "one more step down the road to allowing all Americans the full measure of Second Amendment protection."
Those who opposed it, LaPierre warned, "will see it reflected in support from their constituents."
The chief sponsor of the measure, South Dakota Republican John Thune, said it would reduce crime by allowing law-abiding citizens such as truck drivers to protect themselves as they travel from one state to another.
Opponents cited incidents they said proved the opposite.
Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., mentioned a Washington state man given a concealed weapons permit despite a history of drug addiction and schizophrenia who in 2008 shot and wounded three people at a public festival. In 2007 a Cincinnati woman with a permit to carry a concealed weapon shot and killed a panhandler who asked her for 25 cents at a gas station, he said.
The Violence Policy Center, a gun control advocacy group, released a study this week finding that concealed handgun permit holders killed at least seven police officers and 44 private citizens during the two-year period ending in April.
"The hard facts are that concealed handgun permit holders do not prevent mass shootings, they perpetrate them," said Kristen Rand, the center's legislative director.
Concealed weapons are allowed in 48 states. Alaska and Vermont allow any gun owner to carry a concealed gun. Wisconsin and Illinois don't allow them at all, except for law enforcement officers. The other 46 states require permits to carry a concealed gun.
Durbin noted that 11 states and the District of Columbia have laws that ban reciprocity with other states, laws that would be overriden by the Thune amendment.
Thune's proposal would extend reciprocity to states that have carry laws, with the condition that visitors to another state follow the laws of that state, such as restrictions on concealed weapons in bars or restaurants. He stressed that it would not set up a national permit standard.
Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said his state, with its more stringent requirements for a concealed weapon, should not have to accept gun carriers from states with few or no restrictions.
Thune responded that "Central Park will be a much safer place" if someone from South Dakota could carry a gun in the New York City park.
Feinstein said California, the nation's most populous state, has issued about 40,000 concealed gun permits, while Florida has issued 580,000 and Georgia 300,000. Thune said about 5 million people nationwide have concealed weapons permits.
Last February the Senate voted 62-36 to eliminate most of the District of Columbia's strict gun control laws. In May, President Barack Obama signed into law a consumer credit card act that also restored the rights of people to carry loaded weapons in national parks. Sixty-seven senators voted for that gun amendment.
Congress has also ignored requests from Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder that it revive a ban on military-style weapons that expired in 2004.
Bipartisan Majority of the U.S. Senate Votes in Favor of National Right-to-Carry Reciprocity
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
Fairfax, Va. – Today, by a margin of 58-39, a bipartisan majority of the U.S. Senate voted in favor of an amendment offered by Senator John Thune to provide interstate recognition of right-to-carry permits. The amendment to S.1390, the National Defense Authorization Act, would acknowledge that the right to self-defense extends across state lines. Under this provision, individuals with carry permits from their home state, or who are otherwise allowed to carry a firearm in their home state, could carry in any other state that issues permits.
“Today’s strong majority vote in the U.S. Senate was an important step forward in the National Rifle Association’s decades long effort to make right-to-carry and national reciprocity the law of the land,” said NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre.
Expanding right-to-carry enhances public safety, as criminals are deterred from attempting crimes when they know or suspect that their prospective victims are armed. A Department of Justice study found that 40 percent of felons had not committed crimes because they feared the prospective victims were armed. The Thune-Vitter amendment recognized that competent, responsible, law-abiding Americans still deserve our trust and confidence when they cross state lines.
Passing interstate right-to-carry legislation would not only reduce crime by deterring criminals, but -- most important of all -- would protect the right of honest Americans to protect themselves if deterrence fails.
“While we are disappointed that the 60 vote procedural hurdle was not met, the vote shows that a bipartisan majority agrees with the NRA,” said NRA-ILA Executive Director Chris W. Cox. “We would like to thank Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) and Sen. Jim Webb (D-Va.), along with all senators who voted in favor of this amendment on both sides of the aisle. The efforts of these senators were not in vain, as the NRA will continue to work tirelessly to ensure this important legislation finds the right avenue to come before Congress once again.” -NRA-
Dodd- Nay; Lieberman- Nay.
Democrats Scramble to Block Thune Gun Amendment
By Shailagh Murray
Senate Democrats are scrambling
to produce 40 votes -- or a mere two-thirds of their caucus -- to defeat a
GOP-led push to override state gun laws.
Republicans have twice this year scored significant pro-gun victories with substantial moderate Democratic support. The minority party lured away a whopping 27 swing-state Democrats to support looser rules on guns in national parks. And a similar coalition has stalled the District of Columbia's quest for House voting representation, by adding language to the Senate version to ease D.C. firearm restrictions.
The latest measure, offered by Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), has far greater reach. Offered today as an amendment to the Defense Authorization bill, it would allow individuals to carry concealed firearms across state lines if they "have a valid permit or if, under their state of residence, they are entitled to do so," Thune explained in a statement.
Thune and his allies contend that by overriding stricter state laws that limit the transport of firearms, the Thune measure would help to lower crime. "Since criminals are unable to tell who is and who is not carrying a firearm just by looking at a potential victim, they are less likely to commit crimes when they fear that they may come in direct contact with an individual who is armed," the statement said.
But Democrats, especially those who represent big cities, were aghast at the sweep of the amendment and are rallying mayors and governors to help win back earlier Democratic defectors. "This amendment is a bridge too far, and could endanger the safety of millions of Americans," Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) said in a statement.
Schumer, who has pledged the filibuster the amendment, said it represented a breach of state rights. "Each state has carefully crafted its concealed-carry laws in the way that makes the most sense to protect its citizens. Clearly, large, urban areas merit a different standard than rural areas. To gut the ability of local police and sheriffs to determine who should be able to carry a concealed weapon makes no sense. It could reverse the dramatic success we've had in reducing crime in most all parts of America," Schumer said.
The National Rifle Association called the Thune amendment "important and timely pro-gun reform" and urged its members to lobby lawmakers to support it, when it comes to a vote later this week. "The right to self-defense does not end at state lines," the NRA statement asserted.
Schumer and his Senate allies, including Sens. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Richard Durbin (D-Ill.), are seeking to convince new Democratic senators, many from Western states where the Second Amendment is sacrosanct, that this measure is primarily a political taunt. Two key targets: Sens. Michael Bennet and Mark Udall, both freshman Democratic senators from Colorado who voted with Republicans on the national parks measure.
Another target is Sen. Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, who voted with Republicans on the national parks provision, but has since switched his allegiance to the Democratic Party and faces a primary challenge in his 2010 re-election bid. Among the 450 mayors around the country who are seeking to defeat the Thune measure are 106 Democratic mayors from Pennsylvania.
Also, families and survivors of
victims in the Virginia Tech shootings will run a full-page ad in Monday's
Richmond Times-Dispatch calling on Sens. Jim Webb and Mark Warner to vote
against the amendment. Both lawmakers are counted in the party's pro-gun camp.
The Thune amendment is cosponsored by Sen. Mark Begich (D-Alaska), another Democrat who has voted consistently with the N.R.A.
READ THE COMMENTS.
Democrats Fear Defections on GOP Gun Proposal
By Shailagh Murray Washington Post Staff Writer Tuesday, July 21, 2009
Senate Democrats are scrambling to defeat a Republican-backed provision that would allow gun owners to carry their weapons across state lines, overriding the stricter laws of many jurisdictions and giving preference to states with looser standards.
Critics, including police organizations, big-city mayors and gun-victims groups, decried the legislation as creating "a new national lowest common denominator" for ownership of firearms. But twice this year, Republicans have succeeded in rolling back restrictions on guns with substantial backing from moderate Democrats, many newly elected from Western states with strong Second Amendment traditions.
For a minority party with little influence on Capitol Hill, the gun votes represent a rare opportunity to divide a filibuster-proof Senate Democratic majority. In May, the GOP lured 27 Senate Democrats to support looser rules on firearms in national parks; the measure passed the House and was signed by President Obama as part of an unrelated credit-card bill.
In February, 22 Senate Democrats joined Republicans to stall the District's quest for House voting rights by demanding that the legislation also ease D.C. gun restrictions.
The latest measure, offered by (R-S.D.), has far greater reach. Offered Monday as an amendment to the defense authorization bill, it would allow people to carry concealed firearms across state lines, provided they "have a valid permit or if, under their state of residence . . . are entitled to do so."
The amendment is opposed by 400 mayors, including New York's Michael R. Bloomberg (I) and Boston's Thomas M. Menino (D), who outlined their objections in a letter to (D-Calif.) and (D-Nev.). They noted that at least 31 states prohibit alcohol abusers from obtaining concealed-carry permits; at least 35 states bar people convicted of certain misdemeanors from becoming gun owners; and at least 31 states require people to complete gun-safety programs before securing a weapons permit.
But Reid voted for both pro-gun measures earlier this year and is viewed as a likely "yes" on Thune's amendment, although he has not declared a position. A vote on the amendment could come Wednesday, said Jim Manley, Reid's spokesman.
Thune described his amendment as a crime-prevention tool. "Since criminals are unable to tell who is and who is not carrying a firearm just by looking at a potential victim, they are less likely to commit crimes when they fear that they may come in direct contact with an individual who is armed," he said in the statement.
(D-N.Y.), who has pledged to filibuster the amendment, called it a breach of states' rights. "Each state has carefully crafted its concealed-carry laws in the way that makes the most sense to protect its citizens," he said. "Clearly, large, urban areas merit a different standard than rural areas," he said. "To gut the ability of local police and sheriffs to determine who should be able to carry a concealed weapon makes no sense. It could reverse the dramatic success we've had in reducing crime in most all parts of America."
The National Rifle Association called Thune's amendment "important and timely pro-gun reform" and is urging a yes vote. "The right to self-defense does not end at state lines," the group said.
Schumer and his Senate allies are seeking to convince their more conservative colleagues that the measure is a political taunt, with potentially dire public-safety implications. Two top targets are Michael Bennet and , freshman Democratic senators from Colorado who voted with Republicans on both previous gun measures.
Udall told reporters Monday night that he will review Colorado's concealed-weapons statute, but added: "I would imagine there would be some concern back home" about Thune's measure.
Survivors and families of victims of the 2007 Virginia Tech shootings ran a full-page ad in Monday's Richmond Times-Dispatch, calling on Virginia's senators, and Mark Warner, to vote against the amendment. Both Democratic lawmakers are counted in the party's pro-gun camp. Webb said Monday night that he was working with Thune to modify the bill so that he could support it.
National Right-To-Carry Reciprocity Bill Introduced
Friday, January 23, 2009
U.S. Representatives Cliff Stearns (R-Fla.) and Rick Boucher (D-Va.), recently introduced H.R. 197-- the "National Right-to-Carry Reciprocity Act of 2009"--a bill that would provide national recognition for valid state Right-to-Carry licensees.
The bill would allow any person with a valid carry permit or license issued by a state, to carry a concealed firearm in any other state if the permit holder meets certain criteria. In states that issue permits, a state's laws governing where concealed firearms may be carried would apply within its borders. In states that do not issue carry permits, a federal standard would apply. The bill would not create a federal licensing system; it would simply require the states to recognize each other's carry permits, just as they recognize drivers' licenses.
Senator John Thune (R-S.D.) is expected to introduce the Senate companion bill in the near future. Rep. Stearns has introduced such legislation since 1995.
Please be sure to contact y
our U.S. Representative at (202) 225-3121, and urge him or her to cosponsor and support H.R. 197!
For more information, please visit www.nraila.org/Issues/FactSheets/Read.aspx?ID=189.