"S. 845, the erroneously
titled ‘Respecting States Rights and Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act
of 2009,’ would create a national system for the carrying of concealed
handguns, commonly referred to as CCW (Concealed Carry Weapon) licenses.
The bill would allow individuals with state-issued CCW licenses to carry
their handguns in any state that issues concealed handgun licenses--today
the vast majority of states.
"It is an outrage
that in a year thus far defined by gun violence--from massacres, to
the murder of police, to hate crimes--the U.S. Senate is preparing to
consider a bill that would dramatically weaken federal and state gun
laws. The practical effect of the legislation would be to reduce concealed
carry permit regulations to the lowest common denominator. Currently,
many states have weak laws and issue residents permits after only a
simple computerized background check.
"This year, there
have already been three confirmed mass shootings committed by concealed
carry permit holders. In April, Richard Poplawski ambushed four Pittsburgh
police officers, fatally shooting three and injuring one. In March,
CCW holder Michael McLendon killed 11 people, including the wife of
a deputy sheriff, before taking his own life following a gun battle
with police in Alabama. In February, CCW holder Frank Garcia killed
four people in a shooting rampage in upstate New York.
laws do not, as their proponents argue, aid police and enhance public
safety. Instead, they threaten law enforcement and arm criminals. States
should be acting to repeal these laws instead of Congress moving to
expand their deadly reach.
"Research by the
Violence Policy Center found that from 1996 to 2000, Texas concealed
handgun license holders were arrested for weapon-related offenses at
a rate 81 percent higher than that of the general population of Texas,
aged 21 and older.
"In 2007, the 'Florida
Sun-Sentinel' conducted an exhaustive review of the operation of Florida’s
concealed carry law--the model for most permissive state concealed handgun
laws. The paper found more than 1,400 people who had pleaded guilty
or no contest to felony charges yet qualified for concealed carry licenses
because of a loophole in the law. In December of last year, authorities
in Tennessee reported that 200 hundred state residents who have permits
to carry concealed handguns could have their permits revoked or suspended
because they have active restraining orders against them.
"Under S. 845, people
who obtain a CCW permit under such flawed systems would be free to carry
their guns in any state that issues concealed carry licenses.
"In the midst of
an epidemic of gun violence, the American people require serious efforts
to reform our weak gun laws, not misguided attempts to appease the powerful
gun lobby. The Senate Judiciary Committee should commit today to holding
a hearing on real measures to reduce gun violence--like closing the
gun show loophole in the Brady background check system, which allows
criminals to buy guns from private sellers at gun shows."