Congress Considers Bill Allowing Concealed Guns Across State Lines

| by Mark Berman Opposing Views

Congress is expected to begin hearing testimony Tuesday on a controversial bill that would allow people with concealed weapons permits to carry their guns across state lines.

According to a report from AHN News, the National Right-to-Carry Reciprocity Act would treat a concealed weapons permit just like a driver's license -- every state would have to recognize other states' permits. It would not apply in Illinois or Washington, D.C. where concealed carry is banned.

The National Rifle Association is pushing the bill, saying in a statement:

The right of self-defense is fundamental and has been recognized in law for centuries. The Second Amendment guarantees the right of the people to keep and bear arms for "security."

NRA spokesman Andrew Arulanandam added, “Law-abiding people are not immune from crime just because they cross over a state border.”

However the bill has its opponents. Members of Mayors Against Illegal Guns are lobbying Congress to reject the bill, and Democracy for America is organizing a petition drive.

“Our petition is about protecting states’ rights and the lives of people in our communities,” said Charles Chamberlain, the group's political director. “Washington ideologues want to call the shots on local laws that just aren’t their business.”

The bill appears to have a good chance of passing. Bloomberg News reports that 241 House members have signaled support, enough for passage. In the Senate, at least 10 Democrats say they are likely to support a similar bill. If all Republicans support it, that would be 58 -- enough to pass but two votes short of avoiding a filibuster.

The White House has not said whether President Obama would sign the bill if it reaches his desk.