Today, Ranking Member John Conyers, Jr. (D-Mich.) opposed the passage of H.R. 822, the "National Right-to-Carry Reciprocity Act of 2011." The bill overrides the laws of almost every state by requiring each to accept concealed handgun carry permits from every other state, even if the permit holder would not be allowed to obtain such a permit or carry a gun in the state in which he or she is traveling. During the debate, the Republican Majority rejected a number of common sense amendments that would have allowed states to retain legal safeguards they put in place to prevent individuals with criminal backgrounds -- including child sex predators, convicted spouse abusers, and even suspected terrorists -- from carrying a concealed weapon.
"This bill is special-interest legislation at its worst," said Conyers. "It is opposed by virtually everyone with an interest in protecting public safety--law enforcement, policy experts, and state and local governments. This is because local officials know through experience that putting more guns on the street will not make us safer. Instead it will further endanger our communities and the lives of the law enforcement officers pledged to protect them.
"Democrats offered a number of amendments in an attempt to mitigate the bill's impact on state gun protections. However, conservatives rejected these common sense amendments, and demonstrated they are more interested in scoring well with special interest groups than protecting a state's right to prevent dangerous criminals from carrying a concealed gun.
"H.R. 822 does nothing to enhance public safety. Instead of wasting time passing special interest legislation, the Congress should focus on creating jobs and improving the economy."