Senator John Thune (R – S.D.) added an amendment to the Defense Authorization Bill which would permit citizens with a concealed-carry permit to travel across state lines with their weapons, so long as they follow the laws of that state. It can be equated to having a driver’s license for guns. Your permit would continue to be issued by your state, and it would be accepted by the other 49 states.
Essentially, this amendment would remove bans states have on concealed weapons, yet the visitor would still be required to follow the laws of the state, concerning where weapons can be carried and what type of weapon can be carried.
Thune told HUMAN EVENTS that the amendment was “a common sense piece of legislation that is clearly designed to protect our second amendment right to this country and people’s ability to defend themselves.” Thune cited the needs of people who travel regularly, such as interstate truck drivers, who feel they are being deprived of the ability to defend themselves by inconsistent treatment of carry permits across the states.
Thune’s press release stated, “Reliable, empirical research shows that states with concealed carry laws enjoy significantly lower violent crimes rates than those states that do not. For example, for every year a state has a concealed-carry law, the murder rate declines by three percent, rape by two percent, and robberies by over two percent. Since criminals are unable to tell who is and who is not carrying a firearm just by looking at a potential victim, they are less likely to commit crimes when they fear that they may come in direct contact with an individual who is armed. This deterrent is so strong that a Department of Justice study found that 40 percent of felons had not committed crimes because they feared the prospective victims were armed.”
Thune stressed that “states that have enacted concealed-carry permits laws have found that it has made people safer, and it’s a deterrent to crime. That is something that law abiding criticizes, when they travel from state to state, ought to be able to continue to exercise.”
Thune’s timing and choice of the Defense Authorization Bill as a vehicle for the amendment puts a lot of pressure on Democrats who had already chosen to complicate the bill with the non-germane Hate Crimes bill added as an amendment earlier.
It could create the same kind of problem for supposedly pro-gun Democrats that resulted from Sen. John Ensign’s (R – Nv) amendment on the bill to give the District of Columbia a voting representative in Congress. Ensign’s amendment, which would have overturned Washington, DC’s gun laws, sank the voting bill.
If Thune’s amendment passes, it’s probably not going to sink the Defense Authorization bill, but it could force the Dems to strip out the Hate Crimes bill as the price for removing Thune’s addition.
For this Amendment to be passed it needs 60 votes, and to lessen the chance that it will be stripped out in conference it needs more than 60 votes. Thune said that currently they believe to have 55 solid votes and 10 votes, mostly democrats, who are on the fence.
Thune believes “This is a painful vote for a lot of democrats… There are still a lot of moving parts with this, but we think we have a shot at getting it passed out here.”
On Monday the Washington Post had an article blasting this amendment as a “frightening prospect.” Thune is calling for grassroots organizations to embrace this “frightening prospect”, of self defense and do what they can to show their support for this amendment.