Opinion

National Concealed Carry Reciprocity – Not More Gun Restrictions – Will Help Keep Americans Safe

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Posted: Mar 10, 2021 12:01 AM
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National Concealed Carry Reciprocity – Not More Gun Restrictions – Will Help Keep Americans Safe

Source: AP Photo/David Duprey

Since this country’s founding, there has always been robust conversation about laws governing guns and self-defense.  But 2020 and 2021 have arguably shed light on these conversations in a whole new way. From the COVID-19 pandemic to nationwide protests and riots, Americans from all states and backgrounds have a refreshed sense of what it means to protect themselves and their families. And now in the face of new anti-gun laws proposed by some in Washington, many Americans fear that their right to self-protection is at risk.

Two new anti-Second Amendment bills that will soon receive a vote on the House floor are raising red flags for millions of Americans who feel their natural-born right to protect themselves and their families is increasingly being encroached upon. H.R. 8, the “Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2021,” would create a mandate that background checks be performed on all gun sales, including firearm purchases made privately, whether it be online or at gun shows.  This would essentially criminalize the private transfer of firearms. And H.R. 1446, the “Enhanced Background Checks Act of 2021,” would extend the period federal authorities have to complete a background check before a gun sale can go through.

Bills like these do effectively nothing to stop crime or keep weapons out of the hands of criminals; instead, they hinder law-abiding Americans’ natural-born right to protect themselves and their families. Creating more narrow pathways with longer wait times to obtain a firearm means precious time that’s being lost when Americans want to protect themselves.  

If Congress and the Administration want to help boost Americans’ safety, they should get serious about passing H.R. 38, the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act, which will help law-abiding gun owners better protect themselves and their families at all times. President Biden has already made calls for gun reform that are being echoed by some members of Congress. The U.S. Concealed Carry Association has been outspoken in opposition to this, most recently in a letter to President Biden criticizing his calls for more “common-sense” but ultimately ineffective gun-control laws.

Nationally, in 2019 there were over 28.3 million firearms-related background checks. In 2020, we ended the year with 39.6 million firearms related background checks– over 10 million more than the year prior. With millions of new gun owners throughout the U.S., Congress and the Administration should recognize the need to finally pass H.R. 38 to allow law-abiding Americans to fully utilize their right to self-defense when traveling from state to state. The current patchwork of laws governing concealed carry reciprocity is putting law-abiding gunowners at risk of breaking the law if they cross state lines where their concealed carry permit is no longer recognized.

Nearly five million new gun owners joined the 100 million-plus gunowners already in the U.S. last year. And now, especially throughout 2020 and into 2021, the COVID-19 pandemic has prompted more Americans to drive long distances by themselves or with their families. With millions of gunowners scattered across the nation who are traveling constantly from state to state, we must ensure that the right to self-defense is honored wherever you or your family may travel. H.R. 38 would make this a reality.

New members of Congress and administrations are constantly cycling in and out of our political system, bringing with them new ideas and assertions about firearm-related laws in our country. But what remains unchanged is the importance Americans place on their right to protect themselves and their families. We see it every day through the upward trajectory of new gunowners, firearm-related background checks and interest in firearms training courses. People from all walks of life in every state value this important right, and it is up to our elected leaders to ensure Americans can fully utilize it.

People are becoming increasingly more aware and protective of their right to self-defense and at the same pace, taking action to become responsible gun owners. With this reality in mind, the U.S. Concealed Carry Association urges legislators to consider the positive impact of helping Americans better protect themselves through passing H.R 38. As our nation regains some semblance of normalcy with students going back to school, large scale events back on the books, and employees returning to their place of work, we must prioritize Americans’ safety by finally passing this important piece of legislation.