Barletta: Concealed Carry Makes Law Abiding Americans Safer
WASHINGTON – Today the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 38, National Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act, by a bipartisan vote of 231 to 198. The legislation would allow law-abiding Americans who are qualified to carry concealed handguns in one state to also carry in other states with concealed carry laws. The bill also includes language from the Fix NICS Act of 2017, which would ensure agencies are reporting to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS).
Currently, forty-two states broadly recognize law-abiding American citizens’ right to carry concealed handguns for self-defense. All fifty states allow some form of concealed carry. Rep. Lou Barletta (PA-11), who has consistently supported concealed carry reciprocity, voted in favor of the bill.
“The right for law-abiding Americans to own firearms is clearly affirmed in the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution,” Barletta said. “Concealed carry permit holders have proven to be more law abiding statistically than non-permit holders. Since states have moved to pass carry laws, violent crime has plummeted. Today the House simply reaffirmed the Second Amendment constitutional rights of all law-abiding Americans. Law-abiding citizens have every right to self-defense, and I am pleased the House passed this important legislation.”
While all 50 states allow concealed carry in some form, since 1991, 25 states have adopted Right to Carry laws. Since 1991, the number of people with carry permits has risen to over 12 million, and the nation’s violent crime rate has decreased 51 percent. In Vermont, a Constitutional carry state, the violent crime rate decreased by 19.2 percent from 2012 to 2014.
Self-defense is a fundamental right in the United States. In District of Columbia v. Heller (2008), the Supreme Court ruled that the “inherent right of self-defense has been central to the Second Amendment right,” which is “the individual right to possess and carry weapons in case of confrontation.”
The legislation upholds all federal prohibitions on individuals who cannot legally possess a firearm, including those convicted of a crime punishable by a year imprisonment, convicted of a misdemeanor domestic violence charge, or individuals who have been proven mentally incapable of possessing a firearm.
The patchwork of state permitting requirements has created a complex legal web American citizens must navigate when traveling across state lines. The bill maintains states’ rights to determine permitting requirements, but allows citizens who meet the qualifications for concealed carry in their home states to carry in any state as long as they follow the local concealed carry laws.
Barletta went on to point out, “The overwhelming majority of all criminals involved in firearm crime obtained their guns illegally. Criminals will obtain weapons, but the law should never prevent law abiding Americans from their right to self-defense.”