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Mr. GENE GREEN of Texas. Mr. Chair, I rise in strong support of H.R. 822, the National Right-to-Carry Reciprocity Act of 2011.
This important, bipartisan, legislation reinforces fundamental rights enshrined in the U.S. Constitution by allowing any person with a valid, state-issued concealed firearm permit to carry a concealed firearm in any state that issues concealed firearm permits.
As an avid hunter and outdoorsman, and as a lifetime member of the National Rifle Association, I can share with personal experience the frustration of my fellow hunters and outdoorsmen the absurdity of having to know which states recognize visiting permit holders from other states and which states that do not.
Our country should not force its law-abiding citizens to check in their fundamental right to self-defense at the state line.
The National Right-to-Carry Reciprocity Act would clarify this matter by requiring states that allow concealed carry to recognize each other's permits, similar to how states recognize each other's driver's licenses.
Right-to-carry laws also help deter crime. Presently, 40 states have right-to-carry laws. Based on crime data from the FBI, right-to-carry states have 22 percent lower total violent crime rates in comparison to the rest of the country.
In my home state of Texas, violent crime has dropped 20 percent and the murder rate has dropped 31 percent, since the enactment of its right-to-carry law in 1996.
This legislation is also in-line with recent rulings found by the U.S. Supreme Court. In 2008 in District of Columbia v. Heller and again in 2010 in McDonald v. City of Chicago, the high court found the right to possess a firearm for self-defense cannot be infringed.
I am a proud co-sponsor of the bill and have co-sponsored similar legislation in previous Congresses.
I call on my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to stand up in support of the U.S. Constitution and the millions of hunters and outdoorsmen in our country and vote in favor of this bill.
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