Can Congress Pass National Reciprocity Before the New Year?
It’s been a crazy two years. Republicans had it good controlling both houses of Congress, and we’ve seen the country change dramatically in that time. We all love to celebrate the fabulously running economy. It’s also refreshing to see the annual migrant caravan stopped at the border for the first time in decades. Well done Mr. Trump!
While progress has been undeniable, there are still a few issues that haven’t been tackled. The biggest is gun control and concealed carry reciprocity. As things stand, innocent Americans are getting trapped and detained by obscure laws for the unbearable crime of having a gun in their trunk when they drive across the country. It’s ridiculous, and with so many other issues resolved, it’s time we demand immediate action.
Two Years of Failure
This is definitely a topic Republicans touched in 2016. Many, including Trump, included gun reform in their campaigns. The general goal was to protect 2nd Amendment rights, and one of the best ways to do that is with national concealed carry reciprocity. It took about a year, but Congress actually did make progress on this front. Late in 2017, a bill passed the House on this very issue. It was titled, “Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017” and offered an excellent approach to fixing incongruent state laws.
Essentially, the bill proposes that anyone who is allowed to possess a firearm by federal law and who is qualified to concealed carry in their own state will be legally allowed to concealed carry in any state. It extends this protection to public federal lands and grounds as well. It’s a short and simple bill, but it alone could resolve the problem of firearm owners unwittingly getting caught in legal traps and suffering unreasonable consequences.
So, the bill was passed in the House roughly a year ago. What has happened since? Well, a whole lot of nothing is what has happened. As per procedure, the bill was read to the Senate. It then sat there and still waits to this day. Simply put, Mitch McConnell has not called for a vote on this bill. More importantly, he’s running out of time to do so. Some might wonder if he’s worried about the bill failing to pass, but it can’t possibly become a law without a vote at some point.
What Happens If We Wait?
The savvy person might be thinking about strategy. You’re wondering if McConnell is simply waiting for the new Congress before he puts such an important bill to vote. After all, Republicans are gaining seats in the Senate come January. While that would be clever, that’s not how procedure works. Once the new Congress takes office, any bills still on the shelf are removed. Reciprocity would have to be passed through the House again before it could reach a Senate vote.
That means that McConnell has one more chance to push this bill and do his job or we’ll be stuck waiting at least two more years for any progress. There’s no reason to think national reciprocity would have any chance of getting through a Democratic House — especially since the rise of radical leftists and their vows to attack gun rights over the next two years. Simply put, reciprocity only has one way forward: we need the Senate to vote now.
The thing is, we can’t expect Mitch McConnell to deviate from a two-year pattern. If he hasn’t acted on the bill before now, why would he suddenly change? There are two things to consider. First, putting off the vote until the midterms may have helped some Republicans in battleground states. Gun control (or reversing it) can be pretty controversial. Now, there is nothing for standing Senators to lose if they vote the right way.
The second issue is even simpler. McConnell hasn’t felt compelled to take action. His voting base and the country at large have not demanded loudly enough to push him in the right direction. That’s an easy fix. If we all take an active part in the governing process, we can make a difference. All you have to do is contact your Senator and demand that they move forward with reciprocity. If you have a Democratic Senator, then it’s even better that you make your voice heard.
The beauty of America is that the people have the freedom to make it better. This is one of the ways we can do that. Hold the government’s feet to the fire. If we’re loud enough, they won’t dare risk ignoring us. We can still fight for reciprocity, but time is limited. Don’t hesitate.