One of the worst injustices that gun owners face in America is during travel when a concealed carry permit holder is arrested for carrying a sidearm in their vehicle and they get pulled over by police in a gun-grabbing state. Conservatives in Congress have been trying to pass a variation of a national concealed carry reciprocity act for six years now. The voters have finally delivered Republicans control of the House, the Senate and the White House. Yet HR 38, the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017, continues to languish in the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security and Investigations.
Why? According to Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY), the reason is because the Republican leadership — specifically, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) — does not want to bring this extremely popular bill up for a vote.
Law-abiding gun owners like Shaneen Allen, a mother of two from Pennsylvania, are the reason why the American people have been asking for a bill like HR 38 years. Ms. Allen had her gun in her car when she was pulled over in 2014 for a minor traffic infraction in neighboring New Jersey. She had never been convicted of a crime in her life and she was in possession of a valid Pennsylvania concealed carry license. New Jersey prosecutors threw the book at her and sought a three-year felony prison sentence. Ms. Allen ended up serving 40 days on a suspended sentence, but the fact that she was even arrested in the first place is an outrage.
HR 38 prohibits overzealous law enforcement officers from detaining or arresting an out-of-state American citizen, so long as that citizen is licensed to carry in their home state and has a valid ID in their possession. The bill forces concealed-carry reciprocity on states that otherwise would seek to prosecute an out-of-state gun owner. This sensible piece of legislation would hopefully prevent miscarriages of the law such as the ordeal that Ms. Allen went through.
You might think that Congress would be eager to pass HR 38, given that the Republican baseball team was attacked by a Bernie Sanders fan. Rep. Steve Scalise (R- LA) ended up in critical condition when he and three other people were shot by “Bernie Bro” James Hodgkinson at a baseball practice in Alexandria, Virginia. Many Members of Congress have concealed carry permits, but none of the Representatives and Senators who were shot at by Hodgkinson were carrying at the time. They were defenseless because they had started their work day in Washington, DC, where none of them are allowed to carry their handguns.
This gets into part of the reason why Speaker Paul Ryan supposedly won’t let HR 38 come up for a vote. A bill from Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY), the DC Personal Protection Reciprocity Act (HR 2909) has been attached to the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act as a piece of companion legislation. If HR 2909 becomes law, Representatives, Senators and everyday Americans who have a concealed carry permit in their home state will also be able to carry a sidearm in DC.
HR 38 now has an astonishing 211 co-sponsors, including three Democrats. It might be the single most popular piece of legislation before this session of Congress. The Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act is only seven co-sponsors shy of a congressional majority and yet Speaker Ryan is holding it up.
Rep. Massie says, “The Speaker told me he didn’t think the timing was right. And I think this is the exact timing to bring this bill.”
The United States just endured eight years of the most anti-gun administration in our nation’s history from 2009 through January of 2017. Now is the perfect time for Congress to expand our Second Amendment freedoms. We cannot predict the outcome of the 2018 midterm elections, so now IS the time to pass the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act!
The phone number to reach House Speaker Paul Ryan’s office is (202) 225-0600. Call his office and tell Ryan’s staffers that you want HR 38, the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act, to receive a vote this year!
~ American Gun News