Congressman Alcee L. Hastings (D-Miramar) made the following statement criticizing the passage of H.R. 822, the National Right-to-Carry Reciprocity Act of 2011. This measure passed the House of Representatives today by a vote of 272-154. H.R. 822 strips states of the right to make their own decisions about whether to recognize other states' concealed carry permits, forcing states to recognize concealed carry permits from any other state regardless of differences in the states' concealed carry policies and criteria.
"I think it is absolutely absurd that this institution voted to let just about anybody carry a concealed weapon anywhere across this nation. States have put forward a considerable amount of time trying to determine just what is best for their citizenry with reference to safety. State legislatures have intensely debated and ultimately decided their own standards for who can carry a loaded concealed weapon in their communities. This legislation eliminates many of those standards, reducing concealed-carry permitting to a lowest common denominator imposed by Congress as a Federal mandate.
"While I am extremely disappointed that this measure passed the House, I believe it is highly unlikely it will ever see the light of day in the Senate. It has been almost a year now since the Republicans took back control of Congress. And yet, all they seem concerned about is reaffirming 'In God We Trust' as the national motto, weakening the Environmental Protection Agency, and watering down gun safety laws. Instead of focusing on their partisan agenda, we should be working to create jobs and grow the economy."
Congressman Alcee L. Hastings serves as Senior Member of the House Rules Committee, Ranking Democratic Member of the U.S. Helsinki Commission, and Democratic Chairman of the Florida Delegation.