By U.S. Representative Bradley Byrne
The Second Amendment is clear: “the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.” Despite what some may try to argue, the Second Amendment makes clear that the federal government cannot prevent individuals from owning firearms.
The vast majority of gun owners point out that their top reason for owning a firearm is self-defense. Studies have shown that violent crime has decreased as gun ownership has increased. Individuals should be trained and prepared to defend themselves should they find themselves in a dangerous situation
Since being elected to Congress, I have continually stood up for the gunowners and fought to prevent any attempt to restrict an individual’s Second Amendment right. Under the leadership of President Donald Trump, gun owners now have an advocate in the White House who respects the Second Amendment as well.
Just this past week, the House of Representatives passed a major pro-Second Amendment bill. H.R. 38, the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act, passed the House with my support by a vote of 231 to 198. Simply put, the bill makes clear that a citizen’s Second Amendment right doesn’t end when they cross state lines.
The bill would allow a person with a valid state-issued concealed firearm permit to carry a concealed firearm in any other state that also issues concealed firearm permits. The bill would also apply for states that allow non-prohibited persons to carry a concealed firearm without a permit. Notably, the bill does not create a national licensing program, but would require states to recognize other states’ valid concealed carry permits.
The legislation is strongly supported by Second Amendment advocates, including the NRA. Some have gone so far as it say it is the most “far-reaching expansion of self-defense rights in modern American history.”
According to the NRA, the legislation “seeks to shift the law to the side of those who obey the rules so they – and not just the criminals – can exercise what the U.S. Supreme Court called ‘the right to possess and carry weapons in case of confrontation’ in any state where their travels may take them.”
To be clear, the bill does not change who is and isn’t eligible to own or possess a firearm. If someone is a criminal who is prohibited from purchasing or possessing a firearm, nothing in this bill would allow that person to purchase a firearm or carry one in a concealed fashion.
Concealed carry permits have been shown to help deter crime. For example, there is the story of a sheriff’s deputy in Florida who was being violently attacked after car chase when a bystander, who had a concealed-carry permit, was able to intervene and subdue the suspect. The Lee County Sheriff has proclaimed the gentleman a hero for his efforts.
The bill is also important because it helps end confusion caused by the current patchwork of state laws. I recently heard the story of a wounded warrior on the way back from receiving medical care for his injury being arrested in our nation’s capital for simply possessing a concealed handgun, lawfully permitted from his home state. This is unacceptable.
By helping provide clarity, the American people will be able to conceal carry a firearm across state lines without being subject to potential criminal or civil risk.
For me, I will continue doing everything I can to stand up for the Second Amendment. This is about protecting the rights of law-abiding Americans and working to make our country a safer place.