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Ms. WASSERMAN SCHULTZ. I rise in opposition to H.R. 822, the National Right-to-Carry Reciprocity Act.
This ill-conceived bill is yet another distraction from what should be the most pressing concern of this Congress, putting Americans back to work.
What's more disturbing is that this bill jeopardizes public safety by mandating that States honor even the most lax concealed-weapon laws of other States. The gentleman from Illinois is incorrect: this is about criminals.
For my constituents in south Florida, gun control is a serious issue. Miami-Dade County has one of the highest rates of gun violence in the country. In the entire State of Florida, there are almost 800,000 permits for concealed firearms. Florida's process for issuing concealed-carry licenses is problematic enough, and I would certainly not suggest foisting it on any other State that has stronger safeguards that protect its citizens. But this bill will do exactly that.
For States that require age minimums or safety training before getting a concealed-weapons permit or that prohibits certain violent offenders from getting a permit in the first place, that all goes out the window if this bill is passed into law. What we get in return is the worst of the worst, a lowest-common-denominator of all of the State laws.
For example, in just one 6-month period in 2006, Florida gave concealed-carry licenses to more than 1,400 individuals who had pleaded guilty or no contest to felonies, 216 of them had outstanding warrants, 128 of them had active domestic violence injunctions. And under this bill, other States will be mandated to honor these permits. They will be mandated to allow Florida's self-admitted felons to carry concealed weapons in their States.
This is why the Nation's leading law enforcement organizations strongly oppose this bill. It's also opposed by more than 600 members of the bipartisan Mayors Against Illegal Guns, including many of my local mayors of both parties in south Florida.
Why would this bill be a higher priority than creating jobs? This is the 11th straight month of this Congress, and the House majority still has no jobs agenda.
Regardless of how Americans feel about guns, the overwhelming majority would agree that gun policy is not a higher priority than job creation is right now.
I urge my colleagues to vote ``no'' on this bill, and I urge my friends across the aisle to stop putting American lives at risk and start putting them back to work.
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