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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. WOODALL. I thank my friend on the Rules Committee for yielding.

I rise in strong support of this rule today. Now, I hear a lot of conversation about States' rights here on the House floor--federalism, you know, that debate that James Madison and Thomas Jefferson had more than two centuries ago. It's an important debate to have, and I hope we have that debate on every single thing that we do in this body. I hope we ask ourselves that question every single day: Is this a responsibility and a role the Federal Government ought to be playing, or should this be something that's left to the States?

Sadly, I've heard more of that enthusiasm today than I usually hear down here, but I welcome it--not as a step in the wrong direction, but a step towards that new beginning. I believe that we can absolutely come together around those kinds of uniting issues: Does the Federal Government need to be involved in this or does it not?

The reason I'm in strong support of this rule, however, is that it made 10 amendments in order. You know, this bill, this concealed-carry reciprocity bill--and in fairness, full disclosure, I'm literally a card-carrying member of the concealed-carry bandwagon. I've got my Georgia carry permit here in my pocket, I have since I was 22 and living in a neighborhood that I thought I needed some self-protection living in.

This is a discussion that this body has been trying to have for about 15 years. As long as I can remember watching Congress, this bill has been knocking around in Congress and no one has ever brought it to the floor of the House despite a broad bipartisan majority of the body cosponsoring it. I've always wondered why, because for Pete's sakes, if it's something that a majority of the body is going to cosponsor, then it ought to be something that the majority of the body is going to support, and we ought to bring it to the House floor and let the House work its will.

I'm still struggling with the underlying legislation, but I appreciate this leadership and this Rules Committee for bringing a bill to the floor when more than a majority of the House has cosponsored it. And I appreciate this leadership and this Rules Committee for giving us 10 amendments from which to choose to improve the bill. There are opt-in provisions if you're worried about federalism. There are honor State compact amendments if you're worried about federalism. There are study amendments with the GAO to sort out whether or not there are unintended consequences with regard to nonresident permits.

These choices are out there for us. Not only did this Rules Committee bring forward a bill that other Congresses have not had the courage to bring forward, but it brought it forward in a way that this body can work its will. Eight Democratic amendments, as I recall, two Republican amendments. That's the kind of House I came to Congress as a freshman to work in.

I appreciate the work the Rules Committee did to make this possible, and I appreciate, Madam Speaker, the work of the leadership in guiding us down this path.


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