Senate To Vote On Gutting State Requirements For Carrying Guns

Under Senator Thune's plan, states would be forced to recognize all concealed weapons permits -- even if the requirements for out-of-state permit-holders fall well below their own.
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Senator John Thune of North Dakota has introduced an amendment (No. 1618) to the Department of Defense appropriations authorization bill (S. 1390) , which could come up for a vote as early as Monday, July 20.

This proposal would override state law by forcing every state (except Illinois and Wisconsin) to accept the carrying of loaded, concealed firearms by non-residents of their state, even if those persons are legally barred from possessing guns in that state.

Under this proposal, states would be forced to recognize all concealed weapons permits -- even if the requirements for out-of-state permit-holders fall well below their own.

Take training requirements, for example. Some states, like Mississippi and Georgia, require no training at all for the carrying of concealed weapons. Texas, by contrast, requires at least 10 hours of range time before the Lone Star State issues a permit. States like Texas would see their standards gutted under Sen. Thune's plan.

Also, states that currently allow relatively few out-of-state visitors to carry concealed weapons within their borders - such as Oregon, Maine and Nebraska - will be negatively impacted by Sen. Thune's amendment.

Under the dangerous provisions of the Thune Amendment, a resident of a state with tight restrictions on concealed weapons who could not qualify for a concealed weapons permit under their own state law, could now receive a non-resident permit from another state with a lower threshold, and police in their state of residence would be forced to honor that permit. [Correction: Our analysis here was based on S. 845, an earlier version of Sen. Thune's proposal. The version currently under debate has addressed this particular issue.]

Why does all this matter? You could be forced by Congress to tolerate dangerous people in your neighborhood armed with concealed weapons and legal permits to carry them -- permits that were issued by other states with weak or non-existent safety requirements.

Gun pushers, in response, often extol the virtues of permit-holders regardless of the requirements they have to (or don't have to) meet, as if they were amateur police officers, claiming that they're all "law-abiding citizens" we can trust to carry their loaded handguns wherever they want -- from college classrooms to airports.

The real world is different. The fact is that too many gun owners with concealed carry permits are not "law-abiding citizens" at all.

* For example, there is Richard Poplawski, the white supremacist armed with an AK-47 who allegedly murdered three Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania police officers this past April on his front porch. Poplawski has been charged with three counts of homicide, aggravated assault, and a weapons violation. He was a concealed carry permit-holder.

* Perhaps you also recall Michael McLendon. He was the "suicide shooter" who went on a rampage through the small towns of Kinson and Samson, Alabama this past March, murdering 10 people before killing himself. He too was a concealed carry permit-holder.

* You likely do not know the name Michael Iheme. A year ago, he was charged with first-degree murder in the shooting death of his wife, Anthonia, in St. Louis Park, Minnesota. This past February, he was found guilty of second-degree murder. Anthonia Iheme had an active restraining order against her husband due to an alleged history of domestic abuse. After shooting his wife, Michael Iheme called 911 and said, "I have killed the woman that mess my life up [sic]...." He was a concealed carry permit-holder, as well.

* Then there is James Patrick Wonder. Wonder was charged last August with the first-degree murder of Donald Pettit - a federal agent with U.S. Customs and Border Protection - in Pembroke Pines, Florida. Wonder reportedly shot Pettit in the head in front of Pettit's twelve-year-old daughter. Wonder was also a concealed carry permit-holder.

* And according to reporting released just today, there is the case of Darryl Inman who pleaded guilty to felony charges of pointing a handgun at fellow motorists during a road rage incident in Edmond, Oklahoma. Inman has been ordered to pay his victims $500 to cover counseling costs and lost wages, and is reportedly serving a 10-month deferred sentence with anger management classes. He has also been ordered to forfeit his firearms, as well as his permit to carry a concealed handgun for life.

As a spokesperson for the Edmond Police Department said, "You can have a license to carry a gun. That does not give you a license to threaten people. You can't pull a gun out and wave it at somebody in a threatening way."

In fact, the Oklahoma County District Attorney handled the case personally, in part, because he said, "I felt it was another concealed carry license incident that crossed the line for self-defense."

There are hundreds of other examples like these listed here and here, with new ones being reported every week. Dangerous people have concealed carry permits who shouldn't be allowed near a handgun, much less be given permission to carry one anywhere in the country.

The Brady Campaign has prepared a fact sheet with helpful information that details the problems with Thune's Amendment.

Sen. Thune's amendment would endanger public safety, put law enforcement at risk, and trample states' rights to make their own gun laws. We encourage all who are concerned about this to contact your Senator today to help ensure that a dangerous proposal like this does not become the law of the land.

(Note to readers: This entry, along with past entries, has been co-posted on bradycampaign.org/blog and the Huffington Post.)

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