80 weeks. That is how long Mitch McConnell and the GOP leadership have blocked the biggest pro-gun bill in the history of this country. It is absolutely shameful
On March 1, 2017, Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) introduced the Constitutional Concealed Carry Act in the Senate. This legislation is simple. It would require that states treat out-of-state concealed carry permits the same way they treat driver's licenses.
If you want to drive across country, you don't need to take multiple driving tests in every state you want to visit. Your driver's license is recognized nationwide. You still need to know each state's road and traffic laws, but we all accept that if someone is trained to drive in one state, they should be allowed to drive in all 50 states.
Concealed Carry Reciprocity is the idea that the same should apply to firearm carry permits. If someone passes a background check and is licensed or permitted to carry a concealed weapon in one state, then they should be allowed to carry it in every state.
The 2nd Amendment reads that the "right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed." The Supreme Court has ruled that the term "bear arms" means to "carry weapons." You have an individual right to carry a firearm for self-defense.
But it is currently impossible to do that in all 50 states. The only people who can legally carry a firearm nationwide are active duty and retired police officers. It is impossible for the average citizen to carry nationwide. I personally have two concealed carry permits — one from my home state of Colorado and a non-resident permit from Utah. Even with these two permits, I can only legally carry a firearm in 37 states.
The Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act would change all of that. Anyone who is licensed or permitted to carry a gun in one state would be allowed to do so in every state.
But the Republican leadership refuses to put it onto Trump's desk!
Back in April, we secured a promise from Mitch McConnell that he would schedule a vote on this bill before the midterms. The logic is to force vulnerable red state Democrats to go on the record.
This November, there are 10 Senate Democrats up for re-election in states Trump won. In some of these states, Trump won by 20, 30, and even 40 percent. Does anyone really think a Democrat can win in West Virginia, Montana, North Dakota, or Missouri by voting against the right to bear arms?
But it isn't just the Senate. Paul Ryan and the leadership in the house are also refusing to send the bill to Trump's desk.
We fought like hell to force a vote on this in the House of Representatives. After 48 weeks of the leadership's stalling, Conservatives finally forced Paul Ryan to hold a vote. But at the last minute, Ryan tacked on a major gun control amendment to court "moderate" GOPers. It passed with a bipartisan majority of 231-198.
When it came time to pass the budget, Ryan could have attached the whole bill to the omnibus and sent it to Trump's desk for signature. Instead, he cut up the legislation and only pushed the left's gun control demands. The Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act was left on the cutting room floor and the GOP announced that the proposal was "dead."
Why? Because they don't see it as a priority.
Every year, dozens of licensed Americans are arrested for carrying their firearm into a state that doesn't believe in the right to bear arms. This year, a 28-year-old Colorado woman named Haley Leach was arrested in New York after she tried to check her legally owned firearm at the airport. She has a Colorado concealed weapons permit, but New York doesn't honor it. She was charged with felony illegal gun possession, all for trying to bring her legally owned pistol home with her. Both the House and Senate versions of the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act would have protected her.
But the legislation would actually go further than this. Currently, 1/4 of all Americans live in states that refuse to approve any concealed carry applications. They call the policy "may issue," meaning that if you apply for a carry permit in California, New York, New Jersey, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Maryland, Rhode Island, Connecticut, or Delaware, the government only "may" issue you a permit. Even if you meet all the requirements, they can deny you for any reason. And they do.
Tens of millions of Americans live in states where their right to bear arms is being openly violated. The Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act would open the door for them to finally be able to exercise their rights. Residents in states like New Jersey and California would be allowed to get non-resident permits from states like Utah and Florida… and then use those permits to carry in their home states!
This is the biggest civil rights bill to come before Congress in a generation. It would dismantle every single state-level carry ban in the country… but the GOP won't touch it!
It is time to hold Congress' feet to the fire.
Republicans love to trot out the pro-gun and pro-2nd Amendment talking points around election time. But the fact of the matter is that in the last 19 months, the GOP has not sent a single bill to President Trump's desk to expand our gun rights. Not one.
This legislation already passed the House. The votes are there in the Senate if McConnell would just hold the vote. And yet, this bill has been collecting dust for 80 straight weeks.
Members of Congressional leadership think they can abandon the 2nd Amendment and then still count on your vote. They think they can shield vulnerable Democrats from having to take any difficult votes before the midterm elections.
It is up to YOU to prove them wrong!