Gun owners with legal permits would be allowed to carry concealed weapons around the country under a bill introduced in the Senate —
a measure that previously came just three votes shy of passage in a Democratic-controlled chamber.
The Constitutional Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act "operates more or less like a driver's license," Texas Republican Sen. John Cornyn told The Hill
about the measure introduced Thursday.
"So, for example, if you have a driver’s license in Texas, you can drive in New York, in Utah and other places, subject to the laws of those states."
The bill would "eliminate some of the ‘gotcha moments,’ where people inadvertently cross state lines" with guns they are legally allowed to carry in their home state, the lawmaker told The Hill.
The National Rifle Association
hailed the measure, calling it a "much-needed solution to a real problem for gun owners."
"The current patchwork of state and local laws is confusing for even the most conscientious and well-informed concealed carry permit holders. This confusion often leads to law-abiding gun owners running afoul of the law when they exercise their right to self-protection while traveling or temporarily living away from home," said Chris Cox, executive director of the NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action.
"Our fundamental right to self-defense does not stop at a state's borders. Law abiding citizens should be able to exercise this right while traveling across state lines."
But gun control groups, including the Michael Bloomberg-backed Everytown for Gun Safety, warn the bill poses a danger at a time when the effort should be placed on strengthening background checks, The Hill reports.
"Federally imposed concealed carry laws interfere with states’ fundamental right to determine who is too dangerous to carry hidden, loaded guns in public," Everytown for Gun Safety's president John Feinblatt told The Hill.
Concealed carry is allowed in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, but to varying degrees. Most states, but not all, require gun owners to apply for a permit.
Everytown argues that 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.
Cornyn’s bill previously
came just three votes short of the 60 votes needed for passage in the Senate.
The current Senate
has 54 Republicans to the Democrats' 44, plus two independents who are expected to vote with Democrats.
© 2021 Newsmax. All rights reserved.