Cicilline Offers Two Amendments to Fight Gun Bill That Threatens Public Safety
WASHINGTON, DC - U.S. Congressman David Cicilline (D-RI) fought hard today against H.R. 822, the National Right to Carry Reciprocity Act, which undermines gun safety laws by forcing states to allow those with concealed weapon permits from other states to cross state lines and carry a loaded, concealed weapon, even if they do not meet the requirements for such a license or have a permit from that destination state.
(Media-Newswire.com) - WASHINGTON, DC - U.S. Congressman David Cicilline ( D-RI ) fought hard today against H.R. 822, the National Right to Carry Reciprocity Act, which undermines gun safety laws by forcing states to allow those with concealed weapon permits from other states to cross state lines and carry a loaded, concealed weapon, even if they do not meet the requirements for such a license or have a permit from that destination state. Congressman Cicilline offered two amendments. The first would have required that before this law applies, a determination be made that the standards in the two states are “substantially similar.” The second amendment would have prevented application of this provision to a suspected or known terrorist, a person convicted of a sex offense against a minor, stalkers or domestic abusers.
“At a time when many Americans are struggling to find work, hold onto their homes, and put food on the table, the Republican leaders in the House are focusing on advancing a bill that makes it easier to move around the country with a loaded, concealed firearm. This is the wrong priority. This bill paves the way for some of the most dangerous individuals, including known or suspected terrorists and those convicted of serious crimes, to conceal and carry firearms across state lines, “said Cicilline.
In proposing the final amendment to the bill, Cicilline said “It is hard to imagine that anyone would advocate for preserving a path for terrorists, child sex offenders, stalkers, and domestic abusers, to transport a loaded gun into another state. Yet these glaring loopholes are present in the underlying bill. And, if my amendment is not passed by this body, this dangerous and appalling pathway for violence will remain.”
The amendments failed and the House of Representatives approved the National Right to Carry Reciprocity Act by a vote of 272-154 on Wednesday, November 16, 2011. It now awaits further legislative consideration in the Senate.
Cicilline’s complete remarks as prepared are below.
M. Speaker, with nearly 14 million unemployed Americans, and as our nation’s economic recovery continues to struggle, it is disheartening that we stand here today divided, engaging in heated debate about expanding the ability of people to carry concealed weapons, and ignoring the most important issue confronting our country: the jobs crisis.
We are debating an effort to undermine the ability of states to protect residents from the scourge of gun violence, and we have before us a bill that will effectively preclude states from limiting who can carry a concealed weapon within its borders, and for what purpose.
While many of my colleagues and I are seriously opposed to the passage of the underlying bill, there still remains an opportunity for us to find common ground. There is a chance for us to unite around a reasonable and vital amendment, which would prevent the privileges in this bill from being extended to some of the most dangerous individuals in our society - individuals who have or wish to inflict great harm upon our communities and our nation.
Let me be clear, this is the final amendment, and passage of this amendment will not kill the bill – it will be incorporated into the final language, and immediately voted upon.
While many of us may disagree with the underlying intent of this bill, it is hard to imagine anyone would disagree that there are certain individuals that should not be afforded the ability to carry concealed, loaded weapons across state lines.
It is hard to imagine that anyone would advocate for preserving a path for terrorists, child sex offenders, stalkers, and domestic abusers, to transport a loaded gun into another state. Yet these glaring loopholes are present in the underlying bill. And, if my amendment is not passed by this body, this dangerous and appalling pathway for violence will remain.
For far too long, terrorism has inspired fear in our country and threatened the happiness and safety of our citizens.
While we continue to live in a world that requires constant vigilance and full awareness of the danger of future terrorist attacks, there is not a single provision in H.R. 822 that would prevent suspected or known terrorists who acquire conceal carry permits in one state with lax regulations from carrying that same concealed, loaded weapon into another state with more stringent regulations.
In addition, many current state concealed carry laws do not sufficiently protect victims of domestic violence. A 2007 investigation found that Florida’s licensing system had granted concealed carry permits to more than 1,400 people who had pleaded guilty or no contest to a felony, 128 people with active domestic violence injunctions, and six registered sex offenders.
In fact, in 2010, Gerardo Regalado, a man who had a record of violent behavior against women, was able to obtain a concealed handgun permit in Florida. He then went on to commit the worst mass shooting in Hialeah, Florida’s history when he killed his estranged wife and three other women at a local restaurant.
H.R. 822 will force other states to recognize Florida’s concealed carry permits, the same permit held by Gerardo Regalado.
Finally, there are no protections in H.R. 822 to prevent individuals convicted of a sex offense against a minor from carrying a concealed, loaded gun into a state whose requirements might have otherwise prevented that individual from acquiring a concealed carry permit.
Child sex offenders—individuals who create unimaginable, lasting harm in our communities—should not be allowed to continue to perpetuate fear in the hearts of our children and families. H.R. 822 will force other states to recognize permits issued to these individuals who pose such danger to our children.
All too often, guns legally end up back in the hands of criminals and nothing in this underlying bill would impede child sex offenders or domestic violence offenders from carrying their loaded, concealed guns across state lines.
In the simplest of terms, my amendment would preclude child sex offenders, domestic violence offenders, and known or suspected terrorists from enjoying the privilege of concealed carry reciprocity authorized in the underlying bill.
We owe this common sense amendment to our brave law enforcement officials and first responders, who bear the greatest responsibility in protecting us from terrorist attacks.
We owe this to our nation’s children, whose innocence is threatened by dangerous individuals who prey on them.
We owe this to victims of abuse, who deserve some consolation that the law will not send their abusers legally armed into another state to continue stalking, threatening, and perpetuating abuse.
There is no question that the Second Amendment reflects the right to bear arms, but there is a right of the American people to be free from gun violence.
Now is the time for our chamber to unite. Let’s demonstrate to the American people that we can use common sense and come together to do what is right.
I urge all Members to support this amendment.
I ( reserve/yield ) the balance of my time.
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