OPEN LETTER TO CONGRESS
FROM 200 FAMILIES AND SURVIVORS DIRECTLY IMPACTED BY GUN VIOLENCE IN AMERICA TO OPPOSE CONCEALED CARRY RECIPROCITY ACT OF 2017
Dear Members of 115th Congress:
We are a group of families and survivors directly impacted by all forms of gun violence in America. Last week, the House Judiciary Committee passed the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017, a proposal that would make it legal for more dangerous and untrained people to carry loaded, hidden guns in more public places.
We implore all Members of Congress to defeat the Concealed Carry Act of 2017.
Concealed Carry Reciprocity creates a dangerous threat to public safety by forcing states with strong concealed carry laws to honor permits from states with weak or non-existent concealed carry laws. This bill would allow people prohibited from getting a concealed carry permit in one state to simply cross the border into a state with weaker laws and get a license to carry.
This bill fails to create a consistent national standard across states for who is able to get a concealed carry permit. Right now, states have the right to choose which states’ concealed carry permits they recognize, which is important because the requirement to carry hidden, loaded guns in public varies drastically from state to state. If Concealed Carry Reciprocity passes, states will be forced to recognize the permits of all states, regardless of whether that permit meets that state’s standards for what it takes for someone to carry a concealed gun in public.
In states with strong laws, there are requirements to get a concealed carry permit, such as passing a background check and demonstrating training and proficiency to prove that you are able to safely use a gun. In states with weak laws, there are essentially zero requirements, meaning anyone, regardless of their background to or experience with guns, is allowed to carry a concealed gun in public. In 12 states, the permitless carry states, you don’t even need a permit to carry a loaded, concealed gun in public.
This bill will make it nearly impossible for law enforcement officers to quickly and easily verify that people carrying a hidden, loaded weapon are doing so legally. Nearly every major law enforcement association opposes this bill because of its disastrous consequences for public safety. Concealed Carry Reciprocity would effectively require that law enforcement become experts in the permitting standards of all 50 states, otherwise an officer could inadvertently let a violent offender go free. The House proposal includes extreme language holding law enforcement officers personally liable. If an officer mistakenly questions the validity of someone’s concealed carry permit, the police officer could be personally sued.
We have been devastated by the loss of our children, sisters, brothers, mothers, fathers, aunts, uncles, grandparents, cousins, or by gun injuries. We are still reeling from the tragic gun violence incidents that impacted our lives and we are appalled that Congress has failed to take action when more than 100,000 Americans are getting killed or injured by guns every single year. We need Members of Congress to find the courage to stand up to the corporate gun lobby by passing gun safety laws such as Senator Chris Murphy’s universal background check bill and reject the dangerous concealed carry reciprocity proposal that puts our public safety at risk.
It’s time for Congress to honor with action to end gun violence in America!
Families and survivors directly impacted by gun violence.