Pro-gun Senators John Thune (R-SD) and David Vitter (R-LA) recently introduced legislation to advance national reciprocity for gun owners who can legally carry concealed firearms in the state where they reside.
The Thune-Vitter bill was introduced with a huge show of support, with the following thirty Senators sponsoring or cosponsoring the legislation:
Ayotte (NH), Barrasso (WY), Boozman (AR), Burr (NC), Chambliss (GA), Coburn (OK), Cochran (MS), Cornyn (TX), Crapo (ID), DeMint (SC), Enzi (WY), Graham (SC), Grassley (IA), Hatch (UT), Inhofe (OK), Isakson (GA), Ron Johnson (WI), Lee (UT), Lugar (IN), McConnell (KY), Paul (KY), Portman (OH), Risch (ID), Rubio (FL), Sessions (AL), Thune (SD), Toomey (PA), Vitter (LA), Wicker (MS) Moran (KS) and Roberts (KS).
S. 2213, officially titled the Respecting States’ Rights and Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act, treats concealed carry as a RIGHT belonging to the people – not as a privilege granted by the government.
“Rather than establish a national standard, our bill will ensure that law-abiding citizens are able to carry concealed firearms while at the same time respecting the laws of the respective states they visit,” said Sen. Thune.
The Thune-Vitter bill provides national recognition for concealed carry permit holders (who have obtained one from their home states), but it also recognizes the right to carry for residents of Constitutional Carry states (where no permit is required).
This is a huge win for gun owners! Constitutional Carry is currently the law in five states, and more than a dozen states are considering legislation to move in that direction.
A competing bill in the Senate, however, would keep even the most pro-gun states tied to a permitting system.
S. 2188, sponsored by anti-gun Democrats Mark Begich (AK), Joe Manchin (WV) Jon Tester (MT) and Max Baucus (MT), offers reciprocity ONLY for permit holders—and thus it would prevent many gun owners, who can legally carry in their home states, from carrying firearms when they travel out-of-state.
This compromise bill would deal a severe blow to the momentum that exists in passing Constitutional Carry at the state level.
Why are these Democrats pushing a weaker bill? After all, the Thune-Vitter bill received a large bipartisan majority vote in 2009, when Republicans held six fewer seats. It would likely pass with more than sixty votes today.
It was clear from the outset that the Senate compromise bill was introduced for only one reason: to keep Harry Reid in power.
Senate Majority Leader Reid likes to pretend he supports gun rights. So do a lot of other Senators, particularly so-called red state Democrats. Yet, many of them also voted for Eric Holder, Sonia Sotoma, Elena Kagan, and a host of other anti-gun Obama appointees.
Reid and his Senate pals have stabbed gun owners in the back repeatedly. Now they’re looking for a way to win back support, which they need desperately in 2012 if Democrats are to stay in the majority in the Senate.
But gun owners should not be fooled; Reid and his cohorts are just pretending to be pro-gun, while at the same time undermining Constitutional Carry in the states.
Ironically, three of the four supporters of the bill come from states where most residents can carry concealed without first having to prove their innocence to the government.
Alaska pioneered the recent Constitutional Carry movement, and permitless carry is allowed in almost all of Montana. Senators Begich, Baucus and Tester are telling their constituents that they can’t really be trusted to exercise their right to bear arms outside of their state of residence.
Showing such disdain for their own constituents will hardly “neutralize” the gun issue.
The overwhelming show of support for the Thune-Vitter bill sends a loud and clear message to the Second Amendment pretenders in the Senate: gun ownership is a right, not a privilege.