The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

"Packing Heat" Bill Just Got More Dangerous


The Brady Campaign today warned of the dangerous actions over the past two days taken by the House Judiciary Committee in amending H.R. 822 on national concealed carry reciprocity, which should be known as the "Packing Heat on Your Street Act."

"It is hard to believe that this bill could have been made more dangerous to American families, but the House Judiciary Committee majority has achieved that dubious feat," said Brady Campaign Acting President Dennis Henigan. "The Judiciary Committee has approved an even more dangerous version of the 'Packing Heat on Your Street Act' - sponsored by Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.) - that would override a state's authority even to enforce its basic limitations on gun possession on concealed carriers from other states."

Before Thursday, the proposed legislation, sponsored by Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-Fla.), undercut the authority of individual states to set their own rules for concealed carry by allowing anyone with a concealed carry license from any state to carry into other states in defiance of the training requirements or other limitations imposed by that state on its own residents.

But the Franks Amendment forces states to recognize the concealed carry licenses of non-residents, even if they are ineligible to possess a handgun in the state where the carrying occurs.

For example, under Tennessee law, Tennessee residents with concealed weapons permits may be prosecuted for violating the State's law prohibiting handgun possession by persons 'while under the influence of alcohol.'

The Franks Amendment would make that prohibition unenforceable against someone with a concealed carry permit visiting from another state, who is caught in possession of a gun in Tennessee while intoxicated. The prospect of a concealed weapon permit holder being arrested while armed and intoxicated is hardly fanciful, since the state legislator who championed Tennessee's law allowing guns in bars was arrested this week for possessing a handgun while under the influence.

The Judiciary Committee also defeated an amendment offered by Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) that would have limited the damage done by the Franks Amendment by at least allowing states to prevent out-of-state gun carriers from carrying concealed if they had been convicted of a misdemeanor sex offense against a minor. Incredibly, the Nadler Amendment was defeated.

"Every Member of Congress who has co-sponsored, or expressed support for, H.R. 822, should think again," Henigan said.

The Brady Campaign has identified three key reasons that the "Packing Heat on Your Street Act" would undermine the safety of American women, children, men, and our communities.

  1. The legislation would override state laws, forcing states that have tight restrictions on who can get concealed weapon permits, such as New York and California, to allow in concealed carry gun-toting people from states, such as Florida, which repeatedly have given dangerous people licenses to carry.
  2. The legislation forces states to allow untrained, out-of-state visitors to carry loaded, hidden guns, even though studies repeatedly have shown that laws making it easy to carry concealed guns do not reduce crime.
  3. The legislation forces states to allow out-of-state permits, even though state concealed weapon licensing systems operate under different rules, apply widely varying standards, ultimately endangering law enforcement officers and the general public.

Weeks ago, we released a report with profiles of some of 13 of the worst concealed carry killers, titled Packing Heat on Your Street.

Brady United formerly known as The Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence and its legislative and grassroots affiliate, the Brady Campaign and its dedicated network of Million Mom March Chapters, is the nation's largest, non-partisan, grassroots organization leading the fight to prevent gun violence. We are devoted to creating an America free from gun violence, where all Americans are safe at home, at school, at work, and in our communities.