Rep. Peters Strongly Condemns House Passage of Bill that Weakens Local Gun Safety Laws
WASHINGTON, DC– Today, U.S. Congressman Scott Peters (CA-52) voted against the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act that passed through the U.S. House of Representatives. This bill would force all states to recognize concealed carry permits from every other state, even those that have weaker or no standards. Residents of states that do not require any permit would be able to carry a concealed weapon anywhere in the country, including places where they are currently not allowed like California. If signed into law, states with the weakest gun safety requirements will set the national standard, therefore, overriding local efforts to protect public safety.
Rep. Peters released the following statement:
“I believe we can and should respect cultural differences around firearms,” said Rep. Scott Peters. “I’m not asking to export California’s gun laws to the rest of the country, but I also don’t want to undermine states like California that choose to have strong gun safety laws to protect their communities. The concealed carry standard passed today will dramatically weaken states’ ability to protect their communities from gun violence, will nullify the current laws that prohibit the concealed carry of loaded firearms in school zones, and will pose a threat to law enforcement officers whenever they attempt to enforce gun laws. This extraordinary encroachment on states’ rights is unacceptable and I urge the Senate to stop this dangerous piece of legislation.”
California has some of the strongest gun laws in the country, but these laws would be undermined by the federally mandated concealed carry bill passed today. Also, California is in close proximity to states that have some of the weakest gun laws in the country, which means Californians would be exposed to laws not tailored to or agreed upon by their state. According to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, criminals in California used about 6,000 guns from other states, mainly from those with few gun-buying restrictions like Arizona and Nevada.
Today’s action to weaken concealed carry laws was combined with a bill that would have strengthened the nation’s background checks. The Fix NICS Act addresses the need to strengthen our National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), which is designed to ensure that only low-risk individuals are able to purchase firearms. Currently, there are major reporting gaps in the program, which have resulted in allowing criminals and domestic abusers to obtain firearms. Rep. Peters strongly supports fixing NICS but could not support a bill that weakens California gun safety laws.
The Major Cities Chiefs Association, which includes the Chiefs of Police and Sheriffs of the 69 largest law enforcement agencies in the country, opposed combining concealed carry reciprocity with the Fix NICS Act. San Diego Police Chief Shelley Zimmerman urged Rep. Peters to oppose today’s action.
Rep. Peters continued, “The decision to combine concealed carry reciprocity to the Fix NICS Act is the equivalent to taking one step forward and then seven steps back. We must be able to vote on these two issues separately. Law enforcement leaders from around the country strongly support strengthening background checks, but strongly condemn concealed carry reciprocity. America is suffering from a gun violence epidemic and I’m tired of Congress refusing to stand up to the gun lobby to protect the American people from senseless gun violence.”