The Gun Owners of America sent out an alert yesterday publicizing an alternative reciprocity bill to S. 2188 as introduced by Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV), Mark Begich (D-AK), and Mike Crapo (R-ID). This alert is showing up on a number of forums and other gun-related websites.
From the GOA Alert:
Pro-gun Senate champions John Thune (R-SD) and David Vitter (R-LA) have decided to stand their ground on their concealed carry reciprocity legislation, despite pressure from gun rights compromisers to weaken the bill.
Specifically, Senators Thune and Vitter are sticking with their version of the bill, which recognizes the right to carry concealed by residents of “Vermont-style” and “Constitutional Carry” states.ThuneVitter
Such states do not require residents to obtain the government’s permission before carrying a firearm for self-protection. There are currently 17 states that have either enacted legislation in the past or have introduced “Constitutional Carry” laws in their legislatures this year.
South Dakota (on governor’s desk)
More states are being added to the list all the time. The Thune-Vitter legislation will fully recognize gun owners’ rights in these states.
A competing bill, however, pulls the rug out from under “Constitutional Carry.” Sponsored by Senators Mark Begich (D-AK) and Joe Manchin (D-WV), the compromise bill still requires a government permit for reciprocity, regardless of state law.
So while the states are moving in the direction of more freedom, the Begich and Manchin bill would keep even the most pro-gun states tied to a permitting system. Why are they doing this? After all, criminals don’t get in line at the police station to get a permit. It’s the law-abiding gun owners who go through the process of proving their innocence before being “allowed” to carry a firearm.
The GOA Alert allows the reader to send a pre-written message to their senators urging them to support the Thune-Vitter bill and to oppose the “compromise” S. 2188.
There is only one problem with this – no Thune-Vitter national reciprocity bill has been introduced yet. When I first read the alert, I checked the Library of Congress’ Thomas website and then I checked the official websites of both Sen. John Thune (R-SD) and Sen. David Vitter (R-LA). None of the above sites had any information of any such bill.
To get to the bottom of this, I sent an email to GOA and was pleased to get a quick response from Erich Pratt. He said in his reply, “There is not a bill number yet. The Senators are in the process of circulating “Dear Colleague” letters and getting cosponsors. We’ll let you know as soon as we find out.”
Until I see the actual text of any Thune-Vitter national reciprocity bill along with an assigned bill number, I don’t plan to ask my senators to support the bill and to oppose S. 2188. It would only confuse their staff and make me look foolish. While you are free to do what you want, my advice is to take a wait and see attitude. As it is, without some slick maneuvering on the part of our allies in the Senate, no national right-to-carry reciprocity bill will get a on-the-record up-or-down vote.