Conyers Fights Dangerous Gun Legislation: Bill Would Override States’ Efforts to Reduce Gun Violence
(WASHINGTON) – Today, Ranking Member John Conyers, Jr. (D-Mich.) led the opposition to H.R. 822, the “National Right-to-Carry Reciprocity Act of 2011,” a dangerous bill that would override the laws of almost every state by obliging each to accept concealed handgun carry permits from every other state, even if the permit holder would not be allowed to carry or even possess a handgun in the state where he or she is traveling. The House Judiciary Committee approved the bill by 19-11 vote with all Democrats and one Republican opposed to the bill.
During consideration of the bill, Committee Republicans refused to adopt Ranking Member Conyers’ amendment to preserve the application of state laws concerning eligibility to carry concealed weapons within their borders. Committee Republicans also rejected other common sense amendments offered by Democrats that would have allowed states to prevent concealed carrying of handguns by those with out of state permits with convictions for offenses such as misdemeanor assault on police officers and misdemeanor sex offenses against children.
“The refusal by Committee Republicans to allow states to protect their citizens against gun violence has set the country on to a dangerous path,” said Conyers. “The proliferation of guns on our Nation’s streets is an urgent problem in need of solution. For example, the chances of being murdered for African American males in Detroit between ages 15 and 24 have risen rapidly in recent years, and nationally, almost 300 African American youth aged 15 to 24 are injured by gun fire each week.
“More concealed guns on the streets, in contravention to local state laws, will not solve this problem, but make it worse.
“Each state must be allowed to make critical public safety determinations like conceal-and-carry laws without Congress overruling them. The opinion of local and state law enforcement agencies hold great weight in these matters. And during the hearing on the bill recently held by the Committee’s Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security, Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey summarized best their concerns with the bill: ‘This bill would eliminate the right that states now have to set their own public safety laws, in consultation with law enforcement professionals. This legislation is not aligned with our vision for the future of policing. It is counter to what the field of law enforcement needs to create safer neighborhoods, towns and cities.’”