H.R. 822, the National Right-to-Carry Reciprocity Act of 2011, has officially passed one of its first hurdles by making it out of the House Judiciary Committee unscathed. The legislation now moves on to the full House of Representatives for approval, a process which could be completed before the close of 2011. So what exactly stands between you, your Florida CCW permit, and the ability to carry down Broadway in New York City? Oh, just a couple of minor steps…
- Approval by the House of Representatives. The bill needs to be approved by the majority of Representatives — The Judiciary Committee was only a small group responsible for weeding out “bad” legislation. During this process Representatives may try to amend the bill to change it, and the final product may bear no resemblance whatsoever to the original bill. The House of Representatives currently consists of 242 Republicans and 192 Democrats, so a vote along party lines is all that is needed for it to pass.
- Approval by the Senate. This might be a little more tricky. The Senate was designed to slow down the legislative process and give legislation more time to be examined before passage, so even if everyone agreed that the bill was awesome it would take some time to process. On top of that hurdle is the fact that Democrats have a 6 member majority over Republicans, and Dems don’t seem to like this bill all that much. Or guns in general.
- Reconciliation Conference. Often times the version of legislation passed by the Senate is drastically different from the version passed by the House. In those instances a conference between the two bodies is conducted to work out the differences and approve a single version of the bill.
- Presidential Signature. Once a finalized version of the bill is decided upon, Barack Obama must put his signature on it to sign it into law. Or not. Laws automatically are considered “signed” if the President doesn’t sign the thing within 10 days and congress is in session. On the other hand, if the bill is passed less than 10 days before the end of the congressional session then the President can “pocket veto” the bill by simply not signing and waiting for the time to run out. It’s considered a dick move, but it happens. Or the president can veto the bill outright, in which case the House can override him with a vote in which 2/3 of the House agrees to pass the bill. Which won’t happen.
In short, don’t hold your breath. There’s a long road ahead, but this is an encouraging step forward.