To quote Charles Dickens, “It was the best of times; it was the worst of times.”

Well, maybe it was not the “best of times” but there was a momentary glimmer of hope when a bi-partisan “Fix NICS” (National Instant Criminal Background Check System) bill was introduced to Congress.

Having a strong, comprehensive background check system is an area of common ground among those who own guns, and those who choose not to. In fact, recent polling by Quinnipiac University showed that over 94% of U.S. voters (gun owners and non gun owners) support pre-purchase background checks before every gun purchase.

The “Fix NICS” bill would not provide for background checks for all gun purchases. It would encourage states and government agencies that are supposed to be feeding data into the NICS database, to in fact do so. Not setting the world on fire, but it’s a start.

The Sutherland Springs TX church shooter was able to legally purchase guns because the Air Force “forgot” to send the NICS database an undetermined number of records on military personnel who had been convicted of gun purchase disqualifying offenses.

Feeling safer after learning that news?

The Other Shoe Drops, Mandated Concealed Carry Reciprocity

Shortly thereafter, we learned the House Judiciary Committee was reviewing the Mandated Concealed Carry Reciprocity Bill. Ouch. We’ve been dreading this possibility all year.

Baldly stated, this bill is bad news — very bad news.

It would force every state to recognize the concealed (hidden) carry rights of gun owners from every other state. As 12 states have no vetting for a person to concealed carry, it would mean PA residents would be side by side with people from other states bringing their hidden, loaded guns into our streets, parks and playgrounds, stores, restaurants and private homes with no ability to stop it.

Let’s look at this from a common ground perspective.

Polling among gun owners and non gun owners during spring 2017 showed a majority of both groups believe a gun owner should have to have a license to concealed carry. Instead of mandating nationwide concealed carry licensing, our Congress is poised to march in the other direction.

Our elected officials are remarkably clever in trying to manipulate voters. They are packaging the “Fix NICS” bill with the “Mandated Concealed Carry Reciprocity Bill.”

In this way, your elected official might make a gesture of showing support for reducing gun violence while also making a much more impactful vote that is a gift to the National Rifle Association. Concealed Carry Reciprocity is its top legislative priority.

Why don’t you write or call your Representative and let them know you noticed what they are doing?

Here’s a simple message. Among U.S. residents, there is existing common ground on key area of gun policy relating to background checks and concealed carry. The data tells us this aligns with:

– A “Yes” vote on Fix NICS for effective background checks (HR 4434; S 2135), and

– A “No” on Mandated Concealed Carry reciprocity (HR 38, S 446)

If you agree, please let your Congressman know, now. For more information on these bills, visit our US Bills page.

Sources: Pew Research Center, 2017 “America’s Complex Relationship with Guns”; Quinnipiac University Polling, Nov. 2017.

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