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Providing for Consideration of H.R. 822, National Right-To-Carry Reciprocity Act of 2011

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. POLIS. I thank the gentleman from Massachusetts.

In hearing the story of my friend from Florida and my colleague on the Rules Committee, again I think it just emphasizes that my State, Colorado, also has a concealed-carry process. We have a must-issue provision. Some of our county sheriffs were not issuing and were denying issuance unreasonably. Again, it highlights that this entire bill is a dangerous solution in search of a problem.

Colorado has reciprocal concealed-carry arrangements with over 30 States, including all of our neighboring States. So you can drive from Colorado to Wyoming in the north, to the south to New Mexico, and east or west, and you're in no danger about your concealed weapon permit not being recognized.

And, yes, there are some States that we don't have a reciprocal agreement from. For instance, the State of Nevada. I fail to be convinced that the proper venue for that is not for the people of the sovereign State of Nevada and the sovereign State of Colorado to elect leadership that will work on a reciprocal carry arrangement if that's what they want to do. If there is a real issue there, and my constituents are hampered by their ability not to have their Colorado concealed weapons permit recognized let's say in the State of California, that's a matter between the States.

Opening the door for Federal intervention in this very sensitive area opens the door to a Federal gun owner registry, which a number of gun rights advocates in my district have expressed a great deal of worry over, as well as opening the door for a whole host of other problems that can come from Washington, D.C., bureaucrats deciding where you can and can't take your guns rather than protecting our Second Amendment in the States.

Some other concerns have been articulated to me from some of the gun owner rights groups in the State of Colorado. They're worried about more onerous standards to acquire a permit. They're worried about a national database of permit holders. They're also worried about this particular provision nullifying the constitutional carry provisions that are on the books in Arizona, Alaska, Vermont, and Wyoming. And that States that have a popular election method of amending the Constitution are able to do so.

So again, what's the problem? I have not had any constituents contact me worried that they can't use their concealed weapons permit in a particular State. I think they are generally, and I have many concealed-carry license holders in my district. I don't happen to be one myself, but they are able to, again, in all the bordering States drive across State borders and not have to worry about relicensing or notifying authorities in those States. I think the gentleman from Florida articulated an example in Colorado where our concealed-carry permit holder helped save some lives, and I think that is a fine and good thing. Again, it is an area of State sovereignty.

I asked the chair of the Judiciary Committee yesterday in Rules whether he thought this provision was constitutionally required to protect the Second Amendment. He responded that no, the State does not have to have a concealed weapons system, a concealed-carry system under the Second Amendment. It is a matter of discretion or policy in that State.

I think this bill runs contrary to State sovereignty and to the privacy of individuals. That's why I encourage my colleagues to vote ``no'' on this bill.


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