House passes concealed carry gun bill

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Two months after the deadliest shooting in modern U.S. history, the House on Wednesday passed legislation that would allow people to use permits for carrying concealed handguns across state lines while also boosting the background check system.

Despite bipartisan support for enhancing background checks for gun purchases, the bill passed along party lines, 231-198, due to Democratic opposition to the concealed-carry reciprocity measure.

Six centrist Democrats voted with Republicans to approve the package: Reps. Sanford Bishop (Ga.), Henry Cuellar (Texas), Vicente Gonzalez (Texas), Ron Kind (Wis.), Collin Peterson (Minn.) and Kurt Schrader (Ore.).
Fourteen Republicans voted “no,” including a mix of conservatives and centrists.
Conservative Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) held the mirror opposite position of Democrats who voted against the legislation: he supports concealed-carry reciprocity but didn’t want the background check measure attached.
“It throws millions of dollars at a faulty program and it will result in more law-abiding citizens being deprived of their right to keep and bear arms,” Massie wrote in a Facebook post ahead of the vote.

The gun policy measures were originally two separate bills. But House GOP leaders opted to combine them so that lawmakers only had to cast one vote.

Attaching the concealed-carry reciprocity measure puts the bipartisan measure to beef up background checks in jeopardy in the Senate.

The legislation as passed by the House faces an uncertain future in the upper chamber, where Democrats are sure to block the concealed-carry measure, but a bipartisan coalition has enough votes to break a filibuster on enhancing background checks.

Under the House legislation, people with permits for carrying concealed handguns could do so in any state that allows concealed weapons.

People could only use their concealed-carry permits in other states that allow the practice if they are carrying a valid government-issued photo ID and are lawfully licensed to possess a concealed handgun. They would still have to adhere to established state and local laws.

Concealed-carry reciprocity is a top legislative priority for the National Rifle Association, which has resisted proposals to restrict access to guns in response to mass shootings.