RALEIGH — U.S. Rep. Richard Hudson, R-8th District, passionately urged his colleagues Wednesday to pass major Second Amendment legislation allowing concealed carry permit holders to transport weapons across state lines without fear of prosecution.
The Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017 (H.R. 38) passed 231-198, and moves to the Senate, where it will require support from at least eight Democrats to reach the necessary 60 votes for passage. Seven Democrats currently serving voted for a similar bill.
The National Rifle Association, Gun Owners of America, and other Second Amendment organizations support the bill. Attorneys general in 24 states — but not North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein — signed a letter supporting the bill as a measure defending the constitutional right to self-defense.
H.R. 38 could eliminate a confusing patchwork of state laws. Some states allow reciprocity, or recognition of other states’ laws, and some don’t. Some states recognize the laws of certain states but not others. H.R. 38 would make reciprocity uniform nationally.
“[Critics will] stand up and claim all kinds of doomsday scenarios about how we’re going to increase crimes, we’re going to increase the number of weapons out there, we’re going to turn the cities into the Wild West,” Hudson said Wednesday on the House floor.
“I find it ironic that we’re being lectured to by people from big cities with a lot of gun control measures, but have some of the worst crime in the nation. They’re worried about people coming from other places where we don’t have crime,” Hudson said.
He said more than half the states recognize permits from every other state, and states and municipalities could still restrict where guns are carried in their communities.
Evidence suggests violent crime and gun crime decrease where concealed carry laws are in effect, Hudson said. He cited a study from Florida and Texas that showed off-duty police officers commit crimes more frequently than concealed carry permit holders.
“For every freedom-loving American who exercises their Second Amendment right, today is your day. For the 73 percent of Americans who support concealed carry, today is your day. For the 15 million concealed carry permit holders out there, today is your day,” Hudson said. “And finally to the single mothers out there who just want to protect themselves and their families, today is your day.”
U.S. Rep. Virginia Foxx, R-5th District, voted for H.R. 38.
“When the Founding Fathers penned the Second Amendment, the right of people to keep and bear arms was intended to empower individuals — a principle that has been solidified by recent Supreme Court decisions,” Foxx said in a statement.
“Responsible gun owners who hold a concealed carry permit from their state’s jurisdiction should be empowered to travel to other states that allow concealed firearms without fear of prosecution — and this bill accomplishes exactly that,” Foxx said.
Dan Way is a staff writer for Carolina Journal.