Finding agreement in America seems almost impossible, but virtually everyone agrees that we have a safety issue for schools and public gatherings. In the shadow of yet another horrific mass shooting, pundits on both sides are attempting to cast their own light on the issue.
The latest tragedy could push law makers to address the issues of gun control and school violence, and it raises the appropriate question of how the unspeakable act of violence in Florida will impact the concealed carry reciprocity bill.
While no one knows what will happen, we’d like to take a look at how the current status of the national gun debate may impact the reciprocity act.
The National Debate Continues, Rises in Pitch
The current debate seems to center along two themes: gun control and mental health. Those in favor of tighter restrictions on semiautomatic weapons cite the trend of mass shootings that were committed using these firearms, arguing that if these guns were prohibited, the frequency and severity of mass shootings would decline. The other factor being discussed is mental health, with the argument that more effort needs to be raised in order to identify and intervene in mental health problems. While these issues are not mutually exclusive, the current tone of the debate seems to have people arguing one side while seeing the other as a distraction from, what they would call, the important issue.
So how will this affect the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act?
Where Does the Law Sit Now?
On December 6th, 2017, Congress passed the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017. However, the bills in not yet the law of the land.
Rather, the bill needs to go through the Senate, which will make their own version and vote on that bill. If it passes, the Senate version will then be reconciled with the Congress version and will be voted on again by both groups. This is the phase where many bills die, as the two versions can be difficult to reconcile.
If reconciled and approved, it will head to the desk of President Trump, who has indicated he would support this type of legislation.
What May Happen in the Future?
Quite frankly, it is too early to say what effect the current gun debate will have on the Conceal Carry Reciprocity Act and whether it will affect the Senate’s vote or change the law significantly. Gun-rights advocates are still hopeful, as Republicans, who generally support gun rights, currently hold a 51-seat majority out of 100 senators. However, this is not an overwhelming majority, so if just a few Republicans choose to vote against the bill, we could see the bill fail.
While anything is possible, the current debate is over semiautomatic rifles, school safety, and mental health, not necessarily concealed-carry laws. It could spill over into the debate, but the bill deals with citizen’s rights to carry concealed handguns and does not address control or access to AR-15’s and similar firearms. Quite frankly, schools shootings and legal concealed carry, while often stacked together, are two separate issues.
As proponents of conceal-carry rights, there is, at the very least, hope that this debate will help spread the understanding that rightful, legal, responsible gun owners could play a role in stopping future tragedies that have impacted our nation.