The U.S. House has passed a bill allowing gun owners with licenses to carry firearms to carry those firearms weapons across state lines. It’s a bill the National Rifle Association has dubbed a “legislative priority.”
Following the deadly mass shootings in Sutherland Springs and Las Vegas, legislators in Washington are also looking for a consensus on improving the national background check system for gun purchases, as well as banning a device known as “bump stocks.”
Katie Zezima, a national correspondent for the Washington Post, says the new “concealed reciprocity” bill would essentially treat a concealed carry permit like a driver’s license.
“You could take it across state lines no problem,” she says. “Right now, you can’t. You have to just use your concealed carry permit in the state that you got it.”
In part, the legislation is controversial because gun permit laws vary so much from state to state.
“Some states have very strict criteria, like New York and Maryland,” she says. “They require safety training, that sort of thing. Other states have much less strict permitting regulations. In Texas, you have to be over 21, you have to have been a citizen of the state for six months. There are a few other things, you can’t have felonies.”
In a separate bill, Texas Republican Sen. John Cornyn co-authored a plan to strengthen the background check system. That legislation comes in the wake of the Sutherland Springs massacre, in which the shooter’s offenses were not reported to this database by the Air Force, which allowed him to obtain a weapon.
Zezima says that Cornyn’s background check bill had support from both sides of the aisle, but now that could change because the House GOP has paired it with the concealed reciprocity bill.
“[The concealed reciprocity bill] was very controversial when it was introduced and it’s become even more controversial now because the House has linked it to one of the few, if only, bipartisan gun bills to be before Congress in a very long time,” she says.
Zezima says the background check legislation was expected to pass easily through Congress, but now that the House has linked it with the controversial concealed reciprocity bill, the fate of both bills rests in the Senate.
Written by Jen Rice.