National Gun Reciprocity Bill is a must pass for the Senate

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, and ranking member Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., arrive for a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2017, entitled: "Firearm Accessory Regulation and Enforcing Federal and State Reporting to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS)." (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

On Wednesday the House of Representatives passed a bill that would allow concealed weapon carry across state lines. This bill passed with the wide margin of 231-198. The vote was largely along party lines with all but 14 Republicans voting yes and all but 6 Democrats voting no. This bill has been met with lots of praise from gun rights groups but has also been met with major disdain from gun control advocates. I would like to talk about why this excellent piece of common sense gun legislation would be passed by the Senate.

For starters, it is important for people to understand what this new law would do. It would not force any state to change existing gun laws, Further, it allows states to enforce its current laws 100 percent. All that this bill does is to allow conceal carry permit holders to carry in any state, as long as they follow that state’s rules. For example, a CT conceal carry permit holder would be allowed to carry in RI or MA or NY etc, as long as they follow that state’s rules. Currently it is illegal, and as I will discuss later, the ramifications are incredibly serious.

Some critics of this bill argue that it violates states rights. If that's the case, how does the driving system work? There are parts of Maine where you can drive 70 MPH. Everybody understands that only pertains to that specific piece of marked road in that particular state. The same exact idea should apply to guns. One state may allow a 10 round clip, but another may have no restrictions. It would be up to the individual gun owner, as it is up to each individual car driver, to follow the rules of that state. Furthermore, if each state has the right to regulate their road travel individually, you shouldn’t be allowed to drive in CT without a CT Driver’s license. That may sound ludicrous, but that is exactly how disjointed the current gun permit system works in our country. There are some states that allow gun permits from other states but not all; this simply adds to the confusion. A uniform nationwide policy is desperately needed to address this issue.

Some may ask why this is such a big deal; I mean it's working out now isn't it? The answer to that is absolutely not. One horror story example is what happened to Shaneen Allen in 2014. Shaneen was a resident of Pennsylvania and decided to obtain a concealed carry permit after being robbed. She was pulled over in New Jersey due to a lane change violation and immediately informed the police that she was a legal gun owner with a permit to carry in PA. Since she was in NJ, she was immediately arrested, spent 40 days in jail before being released on bail, and faced a felony gun charge that carried a minimum three-year sentence. Thankfully NJ Governor Chris Christie pardoned her, but this should have never happened in the first place. Constitutional rights should not end or alter every time a citizen crosses a state border.

Any congressman voting against this bill is simply doing it as a political stunt. Does Shaneen Allen, a single mother of two with no criminal record who decided to carry a gun after she was robbed, deserve three years in prison? If you believe the answer is yes, you are officially blinded by partisan politics. This is the exact type of common sense gun legislation our country needs.


Alexander Grzelak is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at alexander.grzelak@uconn.edu.