Gabby Giffords on House Vote to Approve Concealed Carry Reciprocity

WASHINGTON DC — Today, gun violence prevention advocates from Giffords, who co-founded her gun violence prevention organization with her husband, Captain Mark Kelly, denounced the House for voting to approve the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017. The legislation can now be taken up for a vote by the Senate.

Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, Co-Founder of Giffords:

“Congress has failed the American people. After two of our nation’s worst mass shootings, Congress took direct instruction from the gun lobby and passed a bill that will override existing state laws and allow dangerous, untrained people to carry guns in every state and every city. Let’s be clear: These politicians are trading our safety for political contributions from the gun lobby. Studies show states with weaker concealed carry laws let people with violent criminal histories carry gunsin public, and as a result those states have more violent crime and murder. If you live in a safe community now, this legislation undermines law enforcement and shreds the laws that protect you.

“Several years after being shot in the head, I’ve learned a lot – how to walk again, how to talk again, and how to start each day ready to change the world. But today, I’m furious. I’m angry that with shootings on the rise, the response from politicians is to sell out to the gun lobby and weaken our public safety laws. I’m angry that House Republicans are trying to sink a genuine bipartisan solution to problems with our background check system. I’m angry that the Senate is avoiding responsibility for limiting bump stocks. I’m angry that when this country is begging for courage from our leaders, they are responding with cowardice.  

“There’s only one remedy for a Congress that can’t keep us safe: a Congress that can. Elections are less than a year away, but they can’t come soon enough. Americans will have the choice to demand courage from our elected officials, stand up to the gun lobby, and elect leaders who will put the safety of their families first. Our fight to reduce gun violence won’t be won overnight, but Election Day 2018 will be remembered for when the American voter said, ‘Enough.’”

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GIFFORDS FACT SHEETS

GIFFORDS AD CAMPAIGN

Yesterday Giffords launched ads focused on eight House members urging them to oppose the concealed carry bill. This is a six-figure buy includes television ads in two states – New Jersey and Minnesota – along with radio ads targeting several of the high profile Southern California districts that are in play, and digital ads in all eight districts.

LAW ENFORCEMENT OPPOSITION

If concealed carry reciprocity passes, law enforcement officers would face challenges in protecting such vulnerable populations and their communities. Due to the vast differences in the physical permit issued by each state – some look like official drivers’ licenses or passport cards, others look like paper library cards – officers would have no way to verify that an individual with an out-of-state concealed weapons permit is legally carrying a loaded firearm. Effectively, they would also be required to become legal experts concerning regulations in all 50 states to determine whether an individual is entitled to carry a concealed handgun. The House proposal, H.R. 38, goes even farther by imposing a threat of personal litigation against law enforcement officers should they attempt to enforce gun laws. As a result, officers would fear conducting a thorough investigation, deterring them from effectively doing their jobs and keeping our communities safe. Below are letters from law enforcement groups calling on Congress to oppose the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act:

LEADING ORGANIZATIONS OPPOSITION

Organizations concerned about public safety have been spending letters to Congress, calling on elected leaders to reject the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act.

ERODING STATES RIGHTS

While all states and DC have standards for carrying concealed firearms in their state, 12 states in the US have eliminated their permitting requirement. If this bill were to pass, residents of these 12 permitless carry states would not need a concealed carry permit to carry a concealed firearm anywhere in the country. The CCR bill would force states with strong requirements for obtaining concealed carry permits—like requiring firearm training, and passing background checks—to recognize concealed carry permits from states that have lower thresholds for obtaining firearms, including issuing them convicted stalkers and people with misdemeanors for domestic abuse.

This means that residents from a state like West Virginia (which is a permitless carry state) would be allowed to carry concealed firearms without a permit in a state like New Jersey, even though New Jersey’s standards for obtaining a concealed carry permit are much stricter. It’s why so many law enforcement groups, prosecutors, and attorneys general concerned are opposed to the legislation — it fails to establish a consistent national standard for the requirements for who can safely carry a concealed gun.

To illustrate how this bill will impact specific states  released a series of state fact sheets that show how the bill would weaken each state’s current laws if enacted:

RECENT POLLING

Americans don’t want to see politicians staying silent and refusing to act as people continue to die. Voters are raising their voices to demand that our laws enforce the notion that criminals, domestic abusers, and convicted felons should not be able to get their hands on a gun.