Posted on April 17, 2013 | By Joanna Raines
Sen. John Cornyn this morning proposed an amendment to the controversial gun control bill that would expand concealed-carry gun laws across state lines without obtaining a permit in the other state.
The Texas Republican’s plan would not permit concealed-carry permit holders to take their guns into states that did not allow individuals to carry concealed weapons.
The move, backed by gun rights groups, ups the ante in the politically divisive debate over the best ways to combat gun violence. Cornyn and his allies in the NRA say that more guns — in the right hands — will reduce the likelihood of massacres in schools, playgrounds and movie theaters. Proponents of legislation currently under consideration on the Senate floor prefer background checks of more potential gun purchasers before the sale of potentially deadly weapons.
Cornyn’s proposals comes as the Senate is about to vote on the most dramatic gun legislation since 1994. The bipartisan gun proposal authored by pro-gun Democrat Joe Manchin of West Virginia and pro-gun Republican Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania is scheduled for today at 4 p.m. The epicenter of the legislation is to expand background checks, which polls show 90 percent of the American people want. The Senate, however, is deeply divided and supporters are not certain whether they can garner the 60 votes supermajority required for passage.
Eight amendments to the bill have been proposed by both sides of the aisle. Democrats are pushing assault weapons and high capacity magazine bans and an expansion to mental health screening. Republicans, meanwhile, are proposing limits on the bans to protect gun owners rights and privacy.
Sen. John Cornyn introduced his amendment to the bill today, The Constitutional Concealed Carry Act of 2013. Cornyn’s amendment would allow gun owners to carry their concealed weapons into other states that also have conceal-carry laws.
“Balancing two of this nation’s most fundamental rights, this measure ensures that law-abiding Americans are able to lawfully carry their weapons across state lines while respecting the rights of each individual state to pass laws that are right for them,” Cornyn said in a press release.
Speaking on the Senate floor this morning, Cornyn said the bill would not infringe upon the states rights to determine if they will issue concealed carry licenses. Bringing forth a poster display, he pointed out that Washington D.C. and Illinois are the only states that do not have a regime of conceal carry legislation, and that the bill would not impose conceal carry legislation in those states.
“If it becomes the law of the land someone with a concealed carry permit in Texas would no longer have to worry about obtaining a new concealed carry license when traveling across the country,” Cornyn said.
According to Cornyn’s office, the amendment is supported by the NRA, Gun Owners of America and the National Shooting Sports Foundation. Cornyn said similar legislation was proposed in 2009 and gained bipartisan support. Cornyn said he expects his amendment to be embraced by both sides of the aisle, because it appeals to Democrats who want to expand background checks. Cornyn called obtaining a concealed carry license like going through a background check “on steroids.”
Speaking to the Senate, Cornyn reaffirmed his stance on gun control, testifying that he does not think enacting tougher gun laws will solve the issue of mass shootings.
“Some are pushing to curtail second amendment rights in the hope of preventing another mass shooting,” Cornyn said. “Here’s the inconvenient fact that advocates of strict gun control ignore…in each of these horrific incidents, the attacks took place in a place where law abiding citizens had been effectively disarmed.”