Guns & Patriots

Thune: I Will Bring Back A National Concealed Carry Bill


Sen. John R. Thune, R-S.D.

A leading supporter of gun rights in the Senate in an exclusive July 14 interview with Guns & Patriots that touched on many firearms issues made assurances that he will introduce a national concealed carry bill within weeks.

A new national concealed carry bill will be introduced within a matter of weeks, said Sen. John R. Thune, R-S.D., whose 2009 bill received 58 votes in the Senate, failing short of the 60-vote threshold required by Democratic parliamentary maneuvering.

A national concealed carry law would not only create a baseline right to carry a concealed firearm for all states, including Illinois, which is the only state without any procedure for concealed carry permits. The law would also create a framework for states to offer reciprocal recognition of concealed carry permits from other states.

Thune said he is now working with other senators, including Sen. David B. Vitter, R- La., who was a co-sponsor of the 2009 bill, and key Democrats, who have signaled their possible support.

The trick is that once the Democrats were confident his previous bill did not have 60 votes, they then allowed senators who needed a pro-gun vote for appearances voted for it, knowing it would not pass, he said.

One sticking point is how to handle the case of Vermont, he said. Vermont has no permit for concealed carry because it believes in the principle that it is not needed. This freedom is ideal, but what happens with someone from Vermont crosses into another state?

The senator said his bill will have a provision for Vermont, so that the national baseline does not hurt Vermonters, taking away their current freedoms.

The current top gun-topic on Capitol Hill is the program by the Department of Justice’s Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to allow guns to pass through normal checks at both purchase points and at the Mexican border. Called Project Gun Runner, the program resulted in the shipment of hundreds of firearms to Mexican criminals that have been linked to dozens of robberies, kidnappings and murders—including the murder of two federal agents.

“I found out about Gun Runner the same way everyone else did,” Thune said.

“As some of the reporting came out, and some people began to talk about it, and it percolated to the surface we found out a lot of things about this project that people didn’t know about,” he said.

The South Dakotan, who is married with two daughters, said the key thing now is to get to the bottom of the matter, which is what is going on with the combined investigation led by Rep. Darrell E. Issa, R-Calif., and Sen. Charles E. “Chuck” Grassley.

“I commend Congressman Issa and Senator Grassley for pursuing an investigation to figure out how high up at the Justice Department this went—and for listening to the ATF whistle-blowers and to try to and try to determent the scope of this failed project,” he said.

Despite hearings and weeks of questions, the senator said he is still trying to get the basic answers, such as the names of the officials involved.

“If in fact we do find out that there were people who know about this and that there was complicity, an effort to try and keep people from finding out it, there ought to be some heads that roll over there,” he said.

“This clearly was a botched mission that was designed well, you know, I am not really clear what it was designed to do,” he said. “It was not effective and as a consequence, and some people have been killed.”

Thune said he was heartened by the cooperation by Acting Director Kenneth E. Melson. “I hope that that continues, and I hope that if there are any people who were working in any degree to keep this from making it out into the public domain that will be exposed as well and that they will be held accountable.”

“You look at the consequences of this and what’s going on south of the border, and the risk it puts our own law enforcement agents,” he said. “It’s absolutely wrong and it needs to be exposed.” 

Another area of frustration for Thune, is the administration’s haphazard rule-making , he said. One example is the effort by the government of South Korean to sell excess M-1 Garand rifles to Americans.

The administration approved the sale, and then withdrew permission without explanation, he said.

Thune said is very upset with the BATFE’s new rule requiring federally licensed gun sellers in states that border Mexico to report any multiple sales of rifles to the same individual within a five-business-day period.

“I have been active in this issue since January—and actively objecting that they proceed with this rule,” he said. In February, Thune and other senators signed a letter to the BATFE protesting that the rule itself was a violation of federal that that specifically allows for the reporting of handgun and revolvers purchases and not long rifles.

“This is a fundamental violation of the certified gun dealer’s rights,” he said.

Furthermore, in light of the Gun Runner debacle, there is some question if the BATFE has the ability to keep track of these weapons and individuals, even if they receive the report, he said.

“This goes above and beyond anything Congress is in favor of, and this final rule is really an overreach,” he said. “We hope to get some response back, but so far, they seem intent on moving forward.”

The senator, who is a married with two daughters, said he will continue to inveigh against the rule and its enforcement. “We need to get to the bottom of this.”

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  • Guest

    “A national concealed carry law would not only create a baseline right to carry …”

    NO!!  I already have that right.  Any law, including the 2nd Amendment, can do no more than confirm that right.  Vermont has it right.

    I would much prefer a Supreme Court opinion declaring all concealed or open carry laws unconstitutional in that their very existence limits and therefore abridges our God-given right to self-defense as confirmed by the 2nd Amendment.

    That said, I would not carry openly after such a Supreme Court decision.  I’d much rather you wonder whether I’m carrying or not.

  • GomeznSA

    OK – if you choose not to carry a gun ‘for protection’ then that is YOUR choice.

    Do you have insurance on your car (mandatory in all states), how about on your home and/or its contents? Do you have life insurance? A firearm is simply a form of ‘insurance’ that most law abiding gun owners (and carriers) hope they will never have to resort to.

    See, that’s the problem with liberals (or quasi-conservatives) – they think that everyone else should think/act like they do. Anyone who chooses to do otherwise is just – well weird or something.

    It is all about freedom to decide what is best for each of us as an individual.
    I truly hope that you never find yourself in a life or death situation, I think I already know what the outcome would be; and even more so – I hope you never are placed in a situation where you need to protect a loved one from imminent death or injury.
    But again – it is your decision to make.

  • AdamB

    can’t legislate for every “what if” situation. What if Bob drives
    home drunk from the bar tonight? That’s illegal. There are laws to deal with
    repercussions if he gets caught. But you can’t tell everyone else that they
    can’t drive because innocent people, kids or otherwise will die because some
    idiot made a poor choice. You can only deal with the consequences. It’s just a
    part of living in a society of free men and women. I’m perfectly ok with
    legislation where if I miss my target and shoot someone else on accident, I go
    to jail.

    People take life and death risks every day. When I drive home from work today,
    I could die. It’s possible that my tire blows out and I accidentally run
    someone off the road. How do you legislate ways to avoid that without seriously
    infringing on everyone’s liberties?

    I don’t want to live in a place where my whole life is restricted by “what
    ifs.” I like motorcycles, contact sports, boating, eating fatty foods,
    etc. They’re all dangerous to a certain extent. Why not outlaw them all?

  • Melissa

    There are SO many instances where people were able to protect themselves and/or their families, in public places, because they were armed.  There are SO many instances where, if somebody had been armed, lives could have been saved.  Do you ever watch the news?  To say that the home is the only place where you might need to defend yourself is absolutely ridiculous!  Violent crime is all around us and you never know when or where you might become a victim.  A woman from our area was recently murdered after she got a flat tire while driving home from work.  A man abducted her at gunpoint, raped and then murdered her.  If she had been armed, and able to defend herself, she would still be here.  Incidents like this happen all the time which is why I carry a pistol with me everywhere I go, and you don’t need to worry about me unless you are trying to do me harm.  If you don’t want to carry a gun outside of your home then don’t, but just because you don’t “see the need” doesn’t mean the rest of us shouldn’t have that right.

  • 3Liniya

    give me time Bro’ I’m workin on it…

  • Mr. EMT

    Can someone explain why you feel the need to carry a gun all the time?

     Because a cop doesn’t fit in my pocket yet.

    I told him the only reason I would carry a gun in a national park was to protect myself from idiots like him.

    That is a good reason, provided you are not the idiot the rest of society fears.

    While I am carrying a gun, I may not need it. Hopefull I never will need it, however if i were ever in a situation where I would need it, I will have it.
    Unlike you, who will not have one if you are ever in a situation where you do need one.

    There is a name for people who are unarmed at the scene of a mass shooting. Victims.

    Now, phillip, I can tell just from your post that you lack the intelligence and skill to safely carry a gun in society. It is good that you realize people such as you are more of a danger with a gun to every day citizens. However, do not project your fears on the rest of society where women who live in large cities have no business being unarmed and where a defenseless home is an opportunity.
    Even a recent event showed a democrat politician is better off owning a shotgun than trying to fight off a home invader unarmed.

    As for your comments about carrying in national parks.
    the term “national park” is a very broad title that does not limit itself to just “forests and woodlands away from civilization”
    There are many national parks inside of cities.
    Why you may need one?
    Within the last couple of years a politician was out jogging with his dog when a coyote attacked his pet. The politician was competent enough to carry a handgun with him while jogging and put the coyote down before it could harm his dog or cause any other harm to property or person.
    We do not live in a utopia as you do, where crime never happens and where no one ever has the need to defend themselves.
    Recently a man in norway who may or may not have had accomplices went on a shooting spree for over 90 before police were notified… I have not heard yet how long his shooting spree lasted total, but 90 minutes before police began to respond and nearly 90 people shot dead.
    I bet they thought like you that no one would need a gun to defend themselves with where they were at.

    Funny thing about the countries who have banned guns, while all those law abiding citizens are running around unarmed, crime rate goes up and people still get shot, stabbed, poisoned, bludgeoned etc.
    When people are armed, the crime rate goes down.

  • Mr. EMT

    The only people who should not carry:
    Convicted felons who have no rights to citizenship.

    Below that line, everyone should be armed.

  • Mr. EMT

    It is illegal to drink at all while carrying a gun.
    Arizona is the only state I am aware of were you can carry in a bar, maybe Vermont too.
    And good for them.
    Care to justify why someone who is sober should be unarmed just because they are in a bar? I.e., designated driver when someone decides they want to as you say, “Get drunk and kill someone” which apparently to liberals happens so often its a curiosity why we allow the public to consume alcohol in any club or bar.

  • Mr. EMT

    Such a timid creature you are.
    Don’t worry, im sure wherever you live if you have to worry about the threat of home invasion, like people who live where MS 13 presence is noted, you will be able to grab your phone and call 911 before the gangbanger who just smashed through your door with machete’s can get to you.
    Now the question is, do you think the cop will be there to get between you and the thug with the machete?

  • Mr. EMT

    Good time to have a gun on you?

    Ask that victim if they would like to take a gun class and own a firearm after going through what they did.

  • Culture_Warrior

    Sadly, again, what HE considers to be “breaking news” is shamefully skewed by its right wing agenda. There has not been one mention of the Norwegian tragedy. What is painfully obvious is that since the perpetrator has been revealed to be a white right wing nut anti-Muslim bigot on a tear to get a race war going in Norway, not a peep has come out on HE on this story. You can bet that if the assailant had been even remotely middle eastern, the story would have been plastered all over the place on this site.