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Law Enforcement Agree: “Concealed Carry Reciprocity” Threatens Public Safety, and Puts Police Officers and the Public at Risk

Yesterday, the House Judiciary Committee ignored growing opposition from major law enforcement organizations and police officers across the country by advancing the gun lobby’s top priority legislation, H.R. 38, the “Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017.”

“Concealed carry reciprocity” is a reckless proposal that would undermine state gun laws and allow people with dangerous histories and no training to carry hidden, loaded guns across the country. “Concealed carry reciprocity” wouldn’t create a national standard for who can carry a concealed handgun in public. Instead, it would force each state to accept the concealed carry standards of every other state, even states that have weaker standards, or worse, no standards at all. H.R. 38 would make it difficult or impossible for law enforcement to verify whether a person from another state is legally carrying a concealed gun in public. It would even allow individual law enforcement officers to be sued for attempting to verify that a person is carrying legally.

Here is a small sampling of what many of the nation’s top law enforcement organizations, police officers, attorneys general and prosecutors have said in opposition to this dangerous legislation:

Major Cities Chiefs Association (MCCA), International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP), Hispanic American Police Command Officers Association (HAPCOA), International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators (IACLEA), National Association of Women Law Enforcement Executives (NAWLEE), National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives (NOBLE), Police Executive Research Forum (PERF), Police Foundation (PF):

“These misguided bills would preempt local and state perspectives on what’s best for communities by forcing states to accept lower concealed carry standards of other states and taking away every state’s ability to determine who may exercise the enormous responsibility of carrying a firearm, concealed or otherwise. … The complete lack of consistent training standards, the different standards for identifying individuals that are too dangerous to carry, the uncertainty of a document’s validity, and the exposure of agencies and police officers to civil liability create unacceptable risks to our nation’s 900,000 police officers and the public at large.”

Attorneys General for California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Virginia, Washington and the District of Columbia:

“Rather than creating a new national standard for who may carry concealed firearms, these bills would elevate the lowest state standard over higher ones and force some States to allow concealed carry by people who do not qualify under their laws. … We fear that, if enacted, these bills inevitable will lead to the death of police officers and civilians, the proliferation of gun traffickers, and acts of terrorism and other mass violence.”

Association of Prosecuting Attorneys:

“This federal preempting would create significant difficulties for law enforcement officers. Specifically, it would undermine state and municipal laws, increase the danger to officers involved in routine traffic stops, and make it more difficult for prosecutors to evenly enforce criminal gun possession laws.”

James O’Neill, Commissioner of New York Police Department, NY, Cyrus Vance, District Attorney of New York County, NY:

“Even worse, many states have no effective procedures to identify people who commit crimes after being granted concealed-carry permits. And even if they did, they don’t have a system to revoke their gun privileges. … Checking the validity of permits—which may well be falsely acquired, forged, revoked or expired—would be impractical in most cases.”

Charlie Beck, Chief of Los Angeles Police Department, CA, Mike Feuer, City Attorney of Los Angeles, CA:

“The mere presence of more concealed weapons on California streets would make police work here much more hazardous. What’s more, if LAPD officers stopped someone with a loaded, concealed handgun, that person could claim to live in a state where permits weren’t necessary, and the officers would be unable to confirm whether it was true. Indeed, law enforcement leaders have warned that concealed carry reciprocity could turn otherwise routine encounters with non-residents into dangerous ones.”

Chris Magnus, Chief of Tucson Police Department, AZ:

“Working in law enforcement is already a dangerous job. Last year, more police officers were assassinated in ambush killings than in any time during the last two decades. While Congress should be passing laws that make police safer, this federally mandated concealed-carry legislation would expose law enforcement to even greater threats.”

California Police Chiefs Association:

“Many jurisdictions require concealed carry weapon holders to undergo training and certification, and H.R. 38 would require them to now accept individuals with concealed weapons permits without those requirements. This bill would erode local control of issuing concealed carry permits, as the arbitrariness of the issuing authority rules would reduce the requirements for concealed carry to the lowest common denominator.”

California Sheriffs Association:

“This legislation, in essence, will eliminate a state’s ability to determine who is eligible to carry concealed firearms in their communities. … HR 38 disrupts the balance between state and federal authority by requiring a state to accept a standard that may be much weaker than its own…”

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