Nationwide “Shootout” with Concealed Carry Guns

The gun debate in America became more phantasmagorical with a vote in the U.S. House of Representatives in December approving the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017 (HR 38).

This legislation is jaw-droppingly horrifying.

Not only does the legislation provide for reciprocity between states for concealed carry, but it overrides the federal regulation establishing gun-free zones around schools and allows concealed carry on federally owned lands open to the public.

Fortunately, Illinois has state restrictions on guns in school zones and that state law prevails over HR 38, but eight other states do not have their own restrictions.

“We’re glad that state law prevails,” said Dan Montgomery, president of the Illinois Federation of Teachers. “We don’t see any sense in allowing guns near schools. We want children to be safe.”

HR 38 allows concealed carry permit holders from states with virtually no background checks and regulation to carry in any other state with concealed carry laws. That means the least restrictive states establish policy for all states that allow concealed carry, including Illinois.

HB 38 is based on that old PR spin: a good guy with a gun can stop a bad guy with a gun.

But as in most cases, the PR spin is designed to sell, not to accurately reflect research and analysis.

HR 38 is an example of trying to base public policy on marketing and propaganda. It was supported by the National Rifle Association, an organization that peddles in fear mongering by trying to convince people of the false canard that owning a gun will help them protect themselves and their families. Research shows that is false. Research shows the opposite is true: adding more guns to a violent situation increases injuries and deaths to the gun owners and their families.

Since May 2007, concealed carry guns have been responsible for at least 1,119 deaths not involving self-defense, according to the Violence Policy Center.

FBI data is even more dramatic: in 2014 there were 224 justifiable homicides committed by private citizens with guns versus 7,670 criminal homicides by private citizens with guns.

The National Gun Violence Coalition, with endorsements from the NAACP, American Federation of Teachers and Children’s Defense Fund, sent Congress a letter warning against approval of the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act.

“This legislation would create a race to the bottom, allowing states with the weakest laws the furthest reach. Mandated reciprocity would effectively override the permitting requirements of individual states, such as requiring safety training or prohibiting permits for people with multiple convictions for violent misdemeanors or drug or alcohol abuse problems,” the letter stated.

The New York Times wrote that President Trump views gun violence as a Marvel comic scenario with heroic gunplay: “If I’m in that room, and let’s say we have two or five or 40 people with guns,” he said, “we’re going to do a lot better because there’s going to be a shootout.”

Here is what the gun safety advocacy group Everytown wrote:

“CCR (Concealed Carry Reciprocity) would not create a national standard for who can carry hidden, loaded handguns in public. Instead, it would force all states to accept every other state’s standards, including those states with weaker or no standards. Every state requires a driver’s license to drive a car, but twelve states don’t require a permit to carry a concealed handgun in public and 19 states don’t require any safety training. Forcing every state to allow these individuals to carry concealed handguns would be like forcing states to let visitors drive on their highways without a driver’s license and without having passed an eye, written, or road test.”

The illogic of HR 38 should be a fatal flaw, but the NRA pitch is all about irrational emotion and that, unfortunately, has proven successful in the past.

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