WASHINGTON, D.C. (CBS) — Republicans in Congress are joining a push for National Rifle Association-backed legislation to allow people with a concealed-carry permit to be able to legally carry a concealed gun in any state. Local critics say it poses a danger, and the bill could be voted on as early as Wednesday.
The Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act would require states to honor a concealed carry permit issued by another state, even if that state has stricter requirements for getting a permit, like Pennsylvania, according to state Attorney General Josh Shapiro.
“Even if their home state has weaker standards, or no standards at all, they would still be allowed to carry here in Pennsylvania,” he said.
The NRA calls the proposal its “highest legislative priority.” That’s not lost on critics like Executive Director Shira Goodman of the gun safety group, CeaseFirePA.
“They invested heavily in the last election for president and Congress,” she said. “I think that’s why it’s being rushed through during the holidays, for a Christmas present.”
She points out 12 states allow concealed carry, without any license or permit at all.
Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard Ross says they “can properly vet” nearly 40,000 people in Philadelphia with permits to carry.
“Our investigators do backgrounds, and at least to our satisfaction, we’re able to give those permits out to people that we vet,” he said.
Gun advocates draw comparisons between driver’s licenses and concealed carry permits, contending a gun license from one state should be valid in another, just like driver’s licenses.
Two dozen Republican state attorneys general signed a letter telling Congress current laws “infringe on the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms.”
They also contend that there is “strong evidence indicates that concealed-carry permit holders actually deter and reduce crime.”
It’s believed that the measure would pass the Republican-led House, but it may encounter difficulty in the Senate, where Democrats widely oppose the concealed-carry reciprocity bill.