As might be expected, the Brady Campaign released a statement yesterday condemning the passage by the House of HR 822 – the National Right-to-Carry Reciprocity Act of 2011. The statement is replete with plays to emotion, the parsing of language to create the wrong impression, and at least one outright lie.
Let’s look at the first part of the statement.
Washington, D.C. – Just hours after Gabby Giffords spoke publicly for the first time and shared her painful but remarkable story of recovery from being shot in the head, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill that would force states to allow dangerous, violent and untrained gun owners from out-of-state to carry loaded, hidden guns in virtually every state.
The National Right-to-Carry Reciprocity Act, H.R. 822, is the first major gun bill taken up and passed by the House since the January 8 Tucson shootings and is an affront to victims of gun violence everywhere, especially those who have lost their lives and been wounded since the Tucson tragedy. The bill the Brady Campaign has named the “Packing Heat on Your Street Act,” passed despite concerns about overriding states’ rights from moderate Democrats and some Republicans.
The battle over the legislation now moves to the U.S. Senate.
“This legislation is so dangerous that it would trample a state’s ability to set its own rules and training requirements concerning who carries loaded, hidden guns in public and override basic state possession laws setting minimum age limits to possess handguns,” said Dennis Henigan, Acting President of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. “It’s deplorable that the first major gun legislation passed by a house of Congress since the Tucson shootings is one that would make it easier for the Jared Loughners of the world to pack heat on our streets and in our communities. It’s deplorable that they did this so soon after Gabby Giffords shared her remarkable and moving comeback story. She and all gun violence victims deserve better from Congress.”
As we see, the Brady Campaign goes straight for the emotional heartstrings. It brings up the image of a recovering Gabby Giffords – who by the way supports gun rights – to denigrate this bill. They call it an affront to “victims of gun violence”. They call forth the image of the deranged Jared Loughner as the image of the concealed carry permit holders nationwide. The same person who, if both school officials and Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dubnik had done their duty properly, would not have been eligible to purchase a firearm.
They then move into parsing their language.
Under H.R. 822, people with violent arrest records and gun owners with no training could be granted a concealed gun permit in one state and carry in almost any other state. Local law enforcement officials would be powerless to stop it.
National and state law enforcement organizations, such as the International Association of Chiefs of Police and Major Cities Chiefs Association, strongly oppose the measure because more loaded, hidden guns in more communities will undermine public safety. So do 34 national faith-based organizations that make up the Faiths United to Prevent Gun Violence coalition.
An arrest for any crime is not the same as a conviction for a crime. However, the Brady Campaign tries to make it seem that an arrest is the same as a conviction.
They then speak of law enforcement groups such as the IACP and the Major Cities Chiefs Association opposing this bill without ever saying these groups have well-known anti-gun agendas. It gets even worse when they bring up Faiths United to Prevent Gun Violence without saying that they themselves helped found this organization!
Finally, they resort to outright lies and distortions about HR 822.
The Brady Campaign and other gun violence prevention groups have warned that H.R. 822 is an even more dangerous bill than when it was originally proposed, thanks to an amendment sponsored by Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.) that passed the House Judiciary Committee in October. The amendment overrides a state’s authority to enforce its basic limitations on gun possession on concealed carriers from other states even if they are ineligible to possess a handgun in the state where the carrying occurs.
For example, under Tennessee law, Tennessee residents with concealed weapons permits may be prosecuted for violating the state’s law forbidding handgun possession by people “while under the influence of alcohol.”
Under the version of H.R. 822 that has now passed the House, this same prohibition would be unenforceable against someone with a concealed carry permit from another state who is caught with a gun in Tennessee while intoxicated. The prospect of a concealed weapon permit holder being arrested while armed and intoxicated is hardly fanciful, since the state legislator who championed Tennessee’s law allowing guns in bars was arrested recently for possessing a handgun while under the influence.
“We’re now calling on the Senate to consider the serious implications of supporting such a law.” Henigan said. “The American people are counting on you to keep their families and communities safe from gun violence.” The Brady Campaign has identified three key reasons that the “Packing Heat on Your Street Act” would undermine the safety of American women, children, men, and our communities.
The legislation would override state laws, forcing states that have tight restrictions on who can get concealed weapon permits, such as New York and California, to allow gun-toting people from states, such as Florida, which repeatedly have given dangerous people licenses to carry.
The legislation forces states to allow untrained, out-of-state visitors to carry loaded, hidden guns, even though studies repeatedly have shown that laws making it easy to carry concealed guns do not reduce crime, and, if anything, increase violent crime.
The legislation forces states to allow out-of-state permits, even though state concealed weapon licensing systems operate under different rules, apply widely varying standards, ultimately endangering law enforcement officers and the general public.
Section 2 of HR 822 explicitly says the possession or carrying of a concealed weapon – with the exception of the eligibility to carry or possess – is subject to the same limitations that a resident of that state would be under.
`(b) The possession or carrying of a concealed handgun in a State under this section shall be subject to the same conditions and limitations, except as to eligibility to possess or carry, imposed by or under Federal or State law or the law of a political subdivision of a State, that apply to the possession or carrying of a concealed handgun by residents of the State or political subdivision who are licensed by the State or political subdivision to do so, or not prohibited by the State from doing so.
Thus, a resident of North Carolina visiting New Jersey would be subject to the same rules and regulations as a resident of New Jersey. The only difference is that the North Carolinian wouldn’t have had to been kidnapped like New Jersey resident Jeffrey Muller in order to have been granted a permit to carry.
There have been no reputable studies done that show any increase in violent crime as a result of shall-issue concealed carry. Any study done by gun control advocates such as the Violence Policy Center doesn’t count as a reputable study. Indeed, if anything, there is a negative correlation between murder and other violent crimes and the level of gun ownership nationwide. Linoge has done two very rigorous studies on this.
The Brady Campaign needs to just give it up. They can’t even lie convincingly anymore. Moreover, as Bitter pointed out on Twitter yesterday, none of the Representatives voting no on HR 822 said it was because of the Brady Campaign. They have become sad pandas indeed.