Concealed carry gun bill up for vote tomorrow is the NRA's 'highest legislative priority'


Great news, everybody – Congress is finally getting around to talking about gun control after the Sutherland Springs (and Las Vegas and Orlando and and San Bernardino and Charleston and Newtown and Aurora) shootings.

The bad news: Their take on gun control seems to be "let's loosen up what little control we have over guns."

Last week the House Judiciary Committee approved a bill that would allow concealed-carry permit holders from one state to legally carry their guns in any other state, forcing all states to honor concealed carry permits issued elsewhere. (Most states do not recognize concealed carry permits from other states.) The National Rifle Association called the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017 their "highest legislative priority," and Republicans gave it a party-line vote.

If the bill passes, any person who has a concealed firearm permit can carry a hidden, loaded gun anywhere in America, including into federally owned national parks. The legislation does not propose creating a centralized database for concealed-carry permit holders.

Diabolically, the measure is attached to a bipartisan bill to tighten up gun permit background checks, the Fix NICS Act. (NICS is the National Instant Criminal Background Check System.) So in its current form, legislators who want to vote to close loopholes in federal background checks will also have to agree to drop concealed-carry regulation in their own states to the lowest national level of regulation.

The full House of Representatives is set to vote on the combined bill tomorrow.

Not surprisingly, Florida's own Pam Bondi signed onto a letter to Congress in favor of Concealed Carry Reciprocity from 23 state attorneys general. Meanwhile, 17 other state AGs have sent a letter to Congress of their own, opposing the measure. And below, an open letter to Congress from the Newtown Action Alliance was signed by 200 family members and survivors directly impacted by gun violence in America.

Dear Members of 115th Congress:

We are a group of families and survivors directly impacted by all forms of gun violence in America. Last week, the House Judiciary Committee passed the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017, a proposal that would make it legal for more dangerous and untrained people to carry loaded, hidden guns in more public places.

We implore all Members of Congress to defeat the Concealed Carry Act of 2017.

Concealed Carry Reciprocity creates a dangerous threat to public safety by forcing states with strong concealed carry laws to honor permits from states with weak or non-existent concealed carry laws. This bill would allow people prohibited from getting a concealed carry permit in one state to simply cross the border into a state with weaker laws and get a license to carry.

This bill fails to create a consistent national standard across states for who is able to get a concealed carry permit. Right now, states have the right to choose which states’ concealed carry permits they recognize, which is important because the requirement to carry hidden, loaded guns in public varies drastically from state to state. If Concealed Carry Reciprocity passes, states will be forced to recognize the permits of all states, regardless of whether that permit meets that state’s standards for what it takes for someone to carry a concealed gun in public.

In states with strong laws, there are requirements to get a concealed carry permit, such as passing a background check and demonstrating training and proficiency to prove that you are able to safely use a gun. In states with weak laws, there are essentially zero requirements, meaning anyone, regardless of their background to or experience with guns, is allowed to carry a concealed gun in public. In 12 states, the permitless carry states, you don’t even need a permit to carry a loaded, concealed gun in public.

This bill will make it nearly impossible for law enforcement officers to quickly and easily verify that people carrying a hidden, loaded weapon are doing so legally. Nearly every major law enforcement association opposes this bill because of its disastrous consequences for public safety. Concealed Carry Reciprocity would effectively require that law enforcement become experts in the permitting standards of all 50 states, otherwise an officer could inadvertently let a violent offender go free. The House proposal includes extreme language holding law enforcement officers personally liable. If an officer mistakenly questions the validity of someone’s concealed carry permit, the police officer could be personally sued.

We have been devastated by the loss of our children, sisters, brothers, mothers, fathers, aunts, uncles, grandparents, cousins, or by gun injuries. We are still reeling from the tragic gun violence incidents that impacted our lives and we are appalled that Congress has failed to take action when more than 100,000 Americans are getting killed or injured by guns every single year. We need Members of Congress to find the courage to stand up to the corporate gun lobby by passing gun safety laws such as Senator Chris Murphy’s universal background check bill and reject the dangerous concealed carry reciprocity proposal that puts our public safety at risk.

It’s time for Congress to honor with action to end gun violence in America!

Families and survivors directly impacted by gun violence:

Megan Ackerman: Witness to shootings in Los Angeles, CA in 2004 and 2012; Great-niece of Stephanie Shine who was killed in Los Angeles, CA; Cousin of Matthew Shlonsky who was killed in Washington, DC.

Chryl Anderson: Friend of Lucia McBath & Ron Davis, parents of Jordan Davis killed in Jacksonville, FL in 2012

Michelle Babiltz: Friend of Tony Phillips who was murdered in Oak Ridge, Tennessee

Lisa Badgett: Fiancé of Robert Robbins who was killed in Oceanside, California, and a gunshot survivor 2012

Nancy Ball: Ex-wife of Allan Reimer who was killed in Gainesville, FL

Dorothy Barrick: Gunshot survivor, 1989. Shot in the foot, will soon need a new ankle replacement and joint.

Eve Bernstein: Wife of Jerry Bernstein who was shot and killed in San Francisco, California in1991

Rachel Bernstein: Daughter of Jerry Bernstein who was killed in San Francisco, CA

Nancy Bowman: One of the very first people to stop the bleeding at the Safeway massacre in Tucson where 19 people, including Congresswoman Gabby Giffords, were injured, and 6 people were killed, including a precious 9-year-old little girl and a well respected Federal Judge

Starr Cummin Bright: Gun shot survivor from Coatesville, PA

Katie Browder: Sister of Sarah Browder, killed on September 27, 2012

Donna Brown: Mother of Cliff Hibbert murdered, 2008 in Los Angeles, California.

Stephanie Brown: Mother of Darius Brown murdered August 3, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois

Rafael Burgos:Father of Alexandria Imani Burgos, who was killed in Belmont Cragin neighborhood in Chicago, Illinois

Anita Busch: Cousin of Micayla Medek, 23, murdered in the Aurora Theater mass shooting

Tom Campbell: Son of John J. Campbell, who was shot to death in NYC in 1965

Natasha Christopher: Mother of Akeal Christopher, who was executed while walking home from a high school graduation party 07/10/12

Abbey Clements: Surviving teacher from Sandy Hook School shootings, CT

Sandra Cole: Mother of Tony McCoy Jr., who was killed in Chicago, Illinois, in 2011

Margaret Coleman: Daughter of Roberta King, who was killed in Binghamton, NY on April 3, 2009.

Yvonne Crasso: Sister of Nina Bradley, killed in Concord, NC in 2012

Lashea Cretain: Survivor of gunshots from Opelousas, LA. 1996

LeeLee Cusenza: Sister of Michele Fast, killed with 7 others at a Seal Beach, CA hair salon on 10/12/11

Dianna David: Niece of Raymond Dilger, from Lake View Terrace, CA, murdered in 1987

Olga Disla: Mother of Anthony Laureano-Disla, who was killed in the Orlando, Florida, Pulse Massacre.

Doreen Dodgen-Magee: Sister-in-Law of Laura Magee, Aunt of Sarah, Rachel, and April, all shot and killed on 9/11/95 in Scotts Mills, Oregon

Megan Doney: Survivor of the shooting at New River Community College, 4/12/13

Jane Dougherty: Sister of Mary Sherlach, who was killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT in 2012

Zach Elmore: Brother of Alicia Johnston, who survived a gunshot in the Las Vegas shooting

Fred Feibusch: My 19-year-old daughter was killed by an ex-boyfriend in 2000 with an illegal gun.

Peter Filkins: Teacher of Galen Gibson, colleague of Nacunan Saez, 1992, Great Barrington, MA.

Jim Forsyth: Brother of Steve Forsyth, killed in Clackamas Town Center in December, 2012

Hope Francis: Survivor of a gun assault by family member, Lafayette, LA

Steve Frappier: Survivor of Ft. Lauderdale Airport shooting, January 2017 (Atlanta, GA)

Roger Fretwell: Father of gunshot survivor

Kristin Froehlich: Sister of David Froehlich, who was killed in Georgetown, CT in 1995.

Joy Gaine: Aunt of Carol Kestenbaum - shot and killed in Arizona on 2/18/07

Denise Gates: Mother of Stephanie Gates, whose husband murdered her on November 18, 2011. She was shot twice in the back of the head

Carol Gaxiola: Mother of Jasmine, who was murdered with a gun when she was 14

Dawnee and Greg Giammittorio: Greg's sister Ruthanne Giammittorio Lodato was killed in Alexandria, VA Feb. 2014

Greg Gibson: Brother of Wendy Gibson, suicide. Father of Galen Gibson, killed in a school shooting.

Elizabeth Gilbert: Wife of Ron Gilbert, M.D. shot to death in his office in Newport Beach, California by patient

Glenn Gilbert: My brother Dr. Ronald Gilbert was shot and murdered in 2013.

Joan Gilbert: Mother of Jaron Desserres, who was shot to death in Tucson, AZ in 2006

Wayne Gilbert: Brother of Dr. Ronald Gilbert, who was murdered with a semi-automatic handgun in his office on January 28, 2013 in Newport Beach, California

Neil Godleski: Nephew, college student killed in NW DC

Jennifer Gonzales: Mother of Jack Gonzales Farrell, who in 2016 shot himself in the head with his police officer father's unlocked, unsecured gun in Woodcliff Lake, NJ

Patti Good: Survivor of gun violence in attempted car jacking. My father also committed suicide 3 days after turning 65.

Roxanna Green: Mother of Christina-Taylor Green who was killed on 1/8/11 in Tucson, AZ

Mary Beth Hacke: Mother of Ryan Hacke, who was 14 months old when he was killed in January 1997 in Homestead, PA

Deborah Hamilton: Mother of Johnathan Damian, who was shot and killed by his father in 1983 at the age of 4 1/2 years.

Donna Hammond: Mother of Allen, who died on Jan. 1, 2014 in Wilmington, DE. We are from Cecil County, Maryland.

Marsha Harris: Mother of murdered son Lennis Jr. by gun violence 11/19/05

Rev. Dr. Craigh Hexham: Son of Martin who died of inadvertent gunshot in September 1969, uncle of Steven who shot himself in June 2001, chaplain to hundreds of patients who died from gunshots since 1982, pastoral therapist to dozens of students and officers in Columbine High School in April 1999.

Geraldine Hills: Sister of Officer Adam Hills EOW 10/18/1994 Rochester, MI

Toby Hoover: Spouse of Dale Stone killed in Toledo, Ohio 1973

Pamela Impson: Survivor of kidnapping and rape at gunpoint in 1971 in San Diego, CA

Mary Ann Jacob: Survivor of the mass shooting at Sandy Hook School

Amanda Johnson: Sister of Leslie McCarver who died from gun suicide, Dallas, TX

Christina Johnson: Mother of Christopher Johnson, who was taken by senseless gun violence on 4/11/15 in Chicago, IL

Lisette Johnson: Survivor, shot 4 times. Gunshot wounds from my husband who killed himself, 2009

Shenee Johnson: My son Kedrick Ali Morrow Jr. was murdered by gun violence on May 15th, 2010 in Springfield Gardens, NY.

Laura Jones: Daughter of Robert S. McCulloch, who died by a self-inflicted gunshot wound in Plano, TX.

Rachael Joseph: Niece of Shelley Joseph Kordell, murdered in the Hennepin County courthouse shooting in MInneapolis, MN on 9/29/03

Celeste Kanpurwala: Daughter of Scott Smith who died by gun suicide in 2014

Seth Kaplan: Brother of George Kaplan, shot to death during a robbery on January 30, 1993 in NYC.

Eileen Kemp: Aunt of Steve Forsyth, who was murdered in Dec. 2012 at a mall in Portland, OR.

Paul Kemp: Brother-in-law of Steve Forsyth, who was killed at Clackamas Town Center Mall, Clackamas, OR in December, 2012

Tamar King: My mother Roberta King was killed in Binghamton, NY April 3, 2009

Jeffrey King, M.D.: Son of Roberta King, killed in a mass shooting April 3, 2009

Lisa Kiser: Survivor, University of Arizona College of Nursing shooting, 2002

Patrick Korellis: Shot and survived Northern Illinois University shooting, Dekalb, Illinois

Deb Kuidis: Sister-in-law of Linda Gilkey, who was shot to death in Albuquerque, NM on Jan 1, 2007

Kathleen Larimer: Mother of John, murdered in the Aurora, Colorado Theater Shooting in July of 2012

Marsha Lee: Mother of Thomas "Tommy" Lee, who was shot and killed in Harvey, IL

Pamela Leidlein: Mother of Michelle Packard, PhD who was killed in Lansing, Michigan. She was hit by a stray bullet.

Ilyse Levine-Kanji: Granddaughter of Dr. Hans Wachtel, shot & killed in Chicago in 1979 & co-worker of Jack Berman, shot & killed in San Francisco in 1993

Liam Lowney: Brother of Shannon Lowney who was killed at the Brookline, MA Planned Parenthood in 1994

Jennifer Lugar: Widow of Scott Spoor, died of a gunshot 2009

Mary Kay Mace: Mother of Ryanne Mace who was killed in the mass shooting at Northern Illinois University on 2/14/08

Ann Madsen: Aunt of Matt Borivinna, 24, in college suicide by gun; Godmother of Kira Christensen, 34, Lynwood, WA, suicide by gun; Godmother of Jessica of Lynwood, WA and grandparents of Mr. and Mrs. Laskey, shot and killed in Pasadena, CA; Very close personal friend to Jane Weiss, whose niece Veronika was shot and killed at Santa Barbara University

Thomas Magee: Brother and uncle to Laura, Sara, Rachel and April who were murdered with a gun on 9/11/95 at the time because states didn't share restraining order information and he bought a gun in Washington and murdered his family in Scotts Mills, Oregon.

Patricia Maisch: Fortunate survivor of the January 8, 2011 mass shooting in Tuscon where Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was wounded along with 12 others and 6 were killed on the sidewalk that horrible day

Richard Martinez: Father of Christopher Ross Michaels-Martinez, shot and killed in Isla Vista, CA 5/23/14

Tim Marusich: Brother of Robert who was a 16-year-old suicide victim with ready access to guns in El Paso, Texas in 1977.

Sandra Mata: Wife of Rudy Mata killed in Arlington, Texas

Robert Matulina: Father of Derek Matulina who was killed in Boston in 2011

Lucy McBath: Mother of Jordan Davis, killed November 23, 2012 for playing loud music in his car

Byron and Julvonnia McDowell:Parents of JaJuan McDowell who was killed in Savannah, GA 4/7/2016 at the age of 14

Melody McFadden: Pastor of L’Oreal Bowman killed in Chicago Illinois and Pastor of Corey Glenn killed in Greenville SC.

Joy McGaugh: Daughter of Tom Hermansen, shot while riding his bicycle on 6/5/08, in Corpus Christi, TX

Wayne McNeil: 2012 Gunshot survivor From Mobile, Alabama

Rena Medek: Mother of Micayla Medek, shot in Aurora theater

Tina Meins: Daughter of Damian Meins, who was killed in the terrorist attack in San Bernardino, CA, 12/2/15

Ed Milam: Father of a survivor of gunshot, Las Vegas, NV

Stephen Miller: Brother of Thomas Miller killed in a gun homicide 1972.

Gayla Moghannam: Survivor of the Henry Hostage Crisis in Berkeley in September 1990

Robert F. Mokos: Brother of Diane Mokos Kriz, who was murdered in Chicago, IL on 7/19/86

Charlene Mokos Hoverter: Sister of Diane Mokos Kriz, who was murdered in Chicago, IL on 7/19/86

Sydney Monstream-Quas: Cousin of John Montstream who was killed in Rochester, NY, domestic violence murder

Tracy Morris: Bystander of Alief-Elsik HS murder, 1977, Houston, TX

Beth Moshenberg: Oldest of Roberta King's 10 children. She was killed in Binghamton, New York on April 3, 2009

William Murphy: Uncle of Neil Godleski killed in D.C.

Carolyn Murray: Mother of Justin Murray who killed in Evanston, Illinois

Annette Nance-Holt: Mother of Blair D. Holt who was murdered in Chicago, IL 2007

Ned Naukam: Grandson of Roberta King who was killed in Binghamton, NY in 2009

Lorenzo Neal: Son of Sharon Louise Jackson Neal, killed at age 25 in 1980 in Monroe, LA and uncle of Kevin Neal, Jr, age 18, killed on October 19, 2016 in Hampton, VA

Deborah Nelson: Mother of Monique Roxanne Nelson, who was murdered in Sacramento, California on Tuesday, December 14, 2010.

Susan R. Nelson: In 1993 in Arlington, TX, I was shot in the back of the head and the left shoulder; somehow I lived, but my friend who I was with did not

Emily Nottingham: Mother of Gabe Zimmerman, who was shot and killed in Tucson, Arizona mass shooting in 2011

Rolf Olfson: Father of Katherine Ann Olson, killed in the first Craigslist murder, October 25,2007

Melissa Pancurak: Veteran of the armed forces, survivor of a domestic mass shooting in a shopping mall, and survivor of armed domestic violence, Portland, OR

Barbara Parker: Mother of Journalist Alison Parker, who was murdered on live tv near Roanoke, VA on 8/26/15

Eli Parker: From Bowling Green, Kentucky. Survivor of a gunshot wound to the face/head at 4 years old, after finding an unsecured gun while visiting a relative’s home.

Deborah Parker: Tucson, AZ, mother of 19 year-old Lindsay Key

Nicholas Payne: Father of Rebecca Payne, shot dead in Boston 2008

Khary Penebaker: Son of Joyce Penebaker, who shot and killed herself in Cincinnati, OH

Catherine Person: Sister of Keith Person, who was murdered in 1974 in Enumclaw, WA

Joan Peterson: Sister of Barbara Lund, shot and killed in Minnetonka, MN in 1992

Sandy and Lonnie Phillips: Parents of Jessica Ghawi, slaughtered in the Aurora Colorado Theater Massacre on 7/20/12

Maria Pike: Mother of Ricky, who was shot while trying to park in front of his new apartment 8/3/12, Chicago, Il

Laura Pitchford: Sister of Michele Fast killed in the Salon Meritage Massacre on October 12, 2011

Harry Pryde: Father of Julia Pryde killed at Virginia Tech April 16 2007

Katy Purviance: Daughter of Caroline Purviance, who was murdered in Los Angeles in 2013

Chuck Repetto: Father of Sean, who was shot and killed in Boston, MA in 2012

Jeanette Richardson: Mother of Patrick Wyatt McKinley, who was shot to death in Newport News, VA on New Year's Eve 2014

Judi Richardson: Mother of Darien Richardson, age 25, shot and killed in 2010, Portland, Maine

Wayne Richardson: Father of Darien Richardson, age 25, shot and killed in 2010, Portland, Maine

Haley Parker Rinehart: Bowling Green, Kentucky, Mother of Eli Parker who survived a gunshot wound to the head after finding an unsecured gun in a relative’s home.

Rev. Sharon Risher: Mother and cousins were killed in Emanuel AME Church Charleston, SC

Susan Rothman: I am a survivor of the CLEVELAND SCHOOL shooting in Stockton, California on January 17, 1989. I saw 5 little children killed and 30 others wounded, as well as a fellow teacher

Aimee Rozen: Cousin of 12-year-old Taylor Wheeler, who was shot and killed in Utah accidentally by his friend, who then shot and killed himself

Kim Russell: Survivor of gun violence, 1999, Atlanta, GA

Kait Saier: Lexington KY, brother shot in head

Roger Salzberger: Tucson, AZ, I was one of two men who tackled the shooter at the Safeway where six PE died and thirteen were wounded. My wife held Christina Taylor Green in her arms as she died.

Barbara Sarkany-Gore: Teacher and survivor of the 1/11/1989 playground shooting, Cleveland School, Stockton, CA

Samuel Saylor: Father of Shane Oliver, who was shot dead in his back in October 20, 2012

Liesel Schapira: Daughter of Benno Schapira, who was shot and killed in Weston, Connecticut in February 2003.

Vicki Schmidt: Best friend of Dawn Hochsprung, killed at Sandy Hook School

Betsy Schneier: Lost dear friend Pamela Waechter, to a shooter on the rampage at the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle in July, 2006; 4 of the staffers held hostage were maimed forever, and had a scheduling conflict not prevented me from attending a Board Meeting there, I would have been among the casualties

Diane Sellgren: My daughter, after being hospitalized 4 times the last year of her life for mental illness, was able to pass a background check and buy a gun. On 7/6/2011 used that gun to end her life, Minneapolis, MN

Clare Senchyna: Mother of only child Camilo who was shot and killed while out celebrating finishing paramedic school in San Francisco, CA on 12/7/14

Ruth Senchyna: Aunt of Camilo Senchyna Beltran. Shot and killed in San Francisco, December 2014

Alexandra Shedwin: Mother of Benjamin Shedwin, who was killed in Killeen, Texas

Joan Shirley: Mother of Kevin Shirley, who was shot to death with an automatic weapon in 1999 in Sandia Park, NM.

LaToya Smith: Mother of Timothy Scott, who was killed 03/24/12 in Chicago, Illinois

Clai Lasher-Sommers: Gun shot survivor from a shooting in 1970, domestic violence, Westmoreland, NH

Tiffany Starr: Daughter of Stephen Starr, killed in Cortland, NY

Barbara Stowe: Sister of Patricia May Springer, who was shot and killed by a convicted felon

Miya Tandon: Daughter of Reuven Rahamim, who was killed in Minneapolis, MN in Sept. 2012

Pam Taylor: My son died by gunshot wound on 9/11/15 in Fort Wayne, Indiana

Caren Teves: Mother of Alexander Teves, who was shot and killed in a movie theater in Aurora, CO

Tom Teves: Father of Alexander Teves, who was shot and killed in a movie theater in Aurora, CO

Anne Thalheimer: Survivor of campus shooting at Simon's Rock College of Bard, December 14th, 1992. Holyoke, MA

Glenda Torres: Mother of Benjamin Davila who was killed in Trenton, New Jersey

Carolyn Tuft: Mother of Kirsten Hinckley, age 15, who was murdered in front of my eyes while shopping for Valentine’s Day. I was shot three times with a shotgun and suffer with permanent lead poisoning for the rest of my life.

Jeffrey Twigg: Survivor of the 2007 Virginia Tech Shooting

Richardo Vaca Valeno: Witness to a shooting and death, Denver, CO

Stephen Venable: Son of Billy Venable and brother of Bill Venable who were killed in Atlanta, GA

Mary Ward: Mother of Adam Ward, cameraman who was killed while filming live TV segment at Smith Mountain Lake, VA on 8/26/15

Bethany Webb: Sister to Laura Webb & daughter of Hattie Stetz & Friend to Victoria Buzzo; Laura & Victoria were shot and killed on 10/12/11. My mom Hattie Stretz was also shot but survived

Bob Weiss: Father of Veronika Weiss who was shot to death in 2014 during the Isla Vista mass shooting

Jane Weiss: Aunt of Veronika Weiss, 19 y.o. who was shot and killed in the Isla Vista shooting on 5/23/14.

Judy Weldon: Survivor of Cleveland School shooting of Jan. 17, 1989

Jeri Hutcheson Wells: Sister of James Hutcheson, who was killed in 1997 by gun violence in Las Vegas, NV

William Wilczewski: Stepfather of Perla Sofia Palma, shot and killed in 2009 in Nogales, AZ

Jane Kelso Winter: Mother of Kelsey Buzzanco, gunshot victim, Houston TX

Tymeka Woods: Michael Flournoy was murdered 4/05/14

Fred Wright: Father of Jerry Wright, who was killed at the Pulse Shooting in Orlando 6/12/16

Maria Jose Wright: Mother of Jerald A. Wright, who was killed at Pulse in Orlando, FL on June 12, 2016

Pamela Wright: My son Tyrone Lawson was killed 01/16/2013 at Chicago State

Lindsey Yoselevitz: Sister to Nicole Schiffman who was shot by a young man at age 19 while in Arizona using a gun brought over state lines but not registered

Newtown Action Alliance is a Newtown-based, national grass-roots organization formed after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings. Our mission is to achieve the steady and continuous reduction of gun violence through legislative and cultural changes.

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