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National Right-To-Carry Reciprocity Act of 2011

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. FRANKS of Arizona. I thank the chairman.

Madam Chair, H.R. 822, initially introduced by Mr. Stearns of Florida and Mr. Shuler of North Carolina and supported by more than half of my colleagues in the House of Representatives, would allow people with a valid permit or license to carry a concealed handgun in any other State that permits concealed carry. This is a policy akin to allowing licensed drivers from one State to drive their car in another State so long as they obey the local laws.

Madam Chair, clearly the constitutional right to defend oneself and one's family should not be limited to only when you are at home. Criminals have always preferred unarmed victims. Conversely, law-abiding citizens capable of defending themselves and their fellow citizens demonstrably save innocent lives.

To give one of countless examples, in 2007, a man in Colorado named Matthew Murray wrote online: ``All I want to do is kill and injure as many Christians as I can.'' Murray then went on a shooting rampage, first killing two young students at a missionary training center outside Denver; and then at a gathering of over 7,000 people in and around the New Life Church in Colorado Springs, Colorado, with a rifle and a backpack full of ammunition, Murray entered the church and opened fire, killing two sisters. Murray was ultimately stopped and killed by Jeanne Assam, a church member and volunteer security guard who once worked in law enforcement and who had a concealed-carry permit. Apart from this armed hero's actions, many more innocent citizens would have died that day.

H.R. 822 includes a number of provisions intended to retain the States' ability to regulate firearm use in their own States and increase public safety. Nothing in the bill affects a State's ability to set the eligibility requirements for its own residents, nor does it affect any State laws or regulations regarding how, when, or where concealed firearms can be carried. It also requires people who want to take advantage of the Federal grant of reciprocity to be properly permitted or licensed by a State to carry a concealed weapon and to be able to produce both the permit or license and a government-issued identification document.

To reiterate Chairman Smith's comments, studies have shown that concealed-carry laws are very good public policy for our country. Madam Chair, the NRA has estimated, based on FBI crime report data, that right-to-carry States, which widely allow concealed-carry, have 22 percent lower violent crime rates, 30 percent lower murder rates, and 46 percent lower robbery rates than States that prohibit or greatly restrict concealed-carry. H.R. 822 will help further extend this trend.

With that, Madam Chair, I urge my colleague to support this bill.

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Mr. FRANKS of Arizona. Mr. Chair, I just would suggest to my friend, the gentleman from Michigan, that he is correct, one cannot compare this strictly with people and driver's licenses. The fact is, first of all, driving a car is not a fundamental right to defense as enshrined in our Constitution. Secondly, cars kill many more people than guns. And, third, we don't usually defend ourselves with cars.

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