Concealed handgun carry reciprocity is about to die. It’s about to die through deliberate inaction or the callous indifference of the U.S. Senate. But we have a small window of opportunity: 21 days left to achieve the goal that has eluded us for years. It seemed assured of being accomplished by the Republican-controlled 115th Congress but, it wasn’t.
Congress still has time to act before the end of the year, but that does nothing to explain why Congress failed to get this done. It certainly had ample opportunity to do so.
What happened? Why did Republican-controlled Congress fail to fulfill one of President Trump’s signature campaign promises?
The House of Representatives and the Senate introduces several national handgun carry reciprocity bills in the last two years. One such bill was 115 H.R. 38, titled, Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017. The bill’s synopsis reads:
This bill amends the federal criminal code to allow a qualified individual to carry a concealed handgun into or possess a concealed handgun in another state that allows individuals to carry concealed firearms.
The measure was voted on by the full House, and was passed on December 6, 2017, by recorded roll call vote: 231 to 198. The vast majority of House Democrats voted against passage of the bill. Only 6 of 184 Democrats voted for the bill. Contrariwise, the vast majority of House Republicans, 225, voted for passage of the bill and 14 voted against.
One day later, on December 7, 2017, the bill was sent to and received by the Senate, where it was read twice, in accordance with Senate protocol, and referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee for action. And, then we heard…nothing. Dead silence.
The bill apparently fell into a deep, dark abyss.
Senator Mitch McConnell, who, as Senate Majority Leader, has ultimate authority for determining what bills are voted on by the full Senate, said and did nothing to get the Judiciary Committee to act so that the bill could be voted on by the Senate as a whole.
Why didn’t the Judiciary Committee act on this? They certainly could have, but didn’t. And why didn’t Senator McConnell urge the Judiciary Committee to action, so the full Senate would have had the opportunity to vote for passage of national concealed handgun carry legislation?
We don’t know. He could have seen to this, but didn’t. Senate Republicans who can answer these questions aren’t saying.
There’s much about this that we don’t know. It is deeply perplexing.
BUT THIS MUCH WE DO KNOW
Senator McConnell can get things done when he wants to. McConnell was able to get Judge Brett Kavanaugh confirmed as an Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. That wasn’t easy, given the strenuous pushback by Senate Democrats and the Senator should be commended for his zealous, unflagging effort in that regard.
He should be just as zealous in getting national concealed handgun legislation through the full Senate. He certainly could have done so. For some reason, he’s chosen not to. Yet he still has time to get this done before the 116th Congress begins its first term on January 3, 2019, because at that point it would futile, as the House will seat a Democratic majority.
The 2016 general election earned us President Donald Trump along with Republican majorities in both Houses of Congress. National right-to-carry was in our grasp. The timing couldn’t have been better. This is what law-abiding gun owners wanted and NRA and other pro-Second Amendment organizations campaigned vigorously for it. Our once-in-a-lifetime real hope for national reciprocity is about to slip through our fingers.
The Senate has had over a year to move on the bill, but has failed to act.
CAN’T THE SENATE SIMPLY PASS THE BILL NEXT YEAR AND SEND IT ON TO PRESIDENT TRUMP FOR HIS SIGNATURE IN 2019?
No, it can’t. All pending bills die at the end of the current Congress.
At the end of a two-year session, Congress adjourns “sine die” or “without day” and not reconvene until a new Congress starts some time the next January.
After that, the slate is wiped clean; there is no business pending. All of the “H.R.” and “S.” numbered titles that have been discussed and debated for the past two years will be archived.
When Congress reconvenes, the process starts all over again.
When Congress reconvenes in 2019, House Republicans can reintroduce concealed handgun carry reciprocity, but with a Democratic majority, the bill would never pass. So, whatever the Senate may do in 2019 won’t matter because both houses of Congress must pass a bill before a bill is sent to the President for his signature.
TIME TO PASS CONCEALED HANDGUN CARRY RECIPROCITY IS OF THE ESSENCE!
There is no time to waste. The Senate is scheduled to adjourn on December 14, 2018. If the Senate fails to pass the bill by emergency roll call vote, we will have lost the only real opportunity to see concealed handgun carry reciprocity through to fruition.
Keep in mind: the Senate’s failure to act on national handgun carry places extreme pressure on President Trump who made this one of his signature campaign issues. Failure to accomplish this goal may well lead to Trump’s defeat in 2020. We must put the Senate’s feet to the fire. This is where you can help….
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley (Chairman of the Judiciary Committee): (202) 224-3744
U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell: (202) 224-2541
Your Senate Delegation: (202) 224-3121
TELL THEM THIS:
The Senate must vote on the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017 bill immediately. The bill passed the House on December 6, 2017, almost one year ago, and has since been stalled in the Senate Judiciary Committee. That is unacceptable! We have only a few precious weeks to get this matter completed. The Senate must pass this bill and send it immediately to the President for his signature. President Trump will sign the bill into law, fulfilling an important campaign promise. My continued support for you will depend on your vote to approve this bill.
You should also contact NRA and President Trump, reminding them of their commitment to support national concealed carry reciprocity. The contact numbers are as follows:
The White House: (202) 456-1111 or (202) 456-1414
National Rifle Association (NRA): (800) 672-3888
We must put pressure on those who can get this matter accomplished.
Making a few important phone calls will only take a few minutes of your time. It’s quick and easy, and critically important to safeguard and strengthen our right to keep and bear arms.
What you do can make a difference and you will be proud to have taken an active part in protecting our natural, fundamental, unalienable, and sacred right to safeguard our lives and the lives of those closest to us, with the best means available: a firearm.
If you choose to do nothing, you will only have yourself to blame. This is our last real shot at passage of significant pro-Second Amendment legislation. Don’t hesitate to take that shot.
Roger J. Katz has practiced law for the federal Government in Washington D.C., for the State Government in Arizona, and has been in private practice in Ohio, New York, and Arizona. Roger is a co-founder of Arbalest Group LLC, creator of the Arbalest Quarrel weblog, dedicated to strengthening the Second Amendment, preserving our Bill of Rights, and maintaining a free Republic. He is a decorated veteran NYPD officer and adjunct professor/lecturer of Police Science at John Jay College of Criminal Justice.
This article was originally published at arbalestquarrel.com and is reprinted here with permission.