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Public Statements

National Right-to-Carry Reciprocity Act of 2011

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

The House in Committee of the Whole House on the state of the Union had under consideration the bill (H.R. 822) to amend title 18, United States Code, to provide a national standard in accordance with which nonresidents of a State may carry concealed firearms in the State.

* Ms. MCCOLLUM. Mr. Chair, I rise in strong opposition to H.R. 822 because it threatens to undermine our states' ability to enforce their own gun laws and endangers the safety of our citizens, especially those that serve in law enforcement.

* If this legislation passes, it would mean that the Republican-controlled Congress will automatically give anyone the right to carry a concealed, loaded weapon into Minnesota's neighborhoods. This reckless bill is opposed by mayors, governors, domestic violence prevention advocates, and major law enforcement organizations, including the Minnesota Chief of Police Association. As members of our law enforcement community will attest, the best way to prevent gun violence is to keep guns off the street and out of the hands of criminals. Gun traffickers routinely take advantage of gun show loopholes and negligent background checks to divert guns from the legal market into the criminal market. This legislation makes it even more difficult to trace illegal guns and keep them out of the hands of those that could inflict harm on our Minnesota law enforcement officers, families, and friends.

* H.R. 822 takes away Minnesota's right to police its own communities and enforce its own stringent gun laws. As with every state and municipality across the country, Minnesota has developed its laws to adequately meet the needs of its residents. This legislation unfairly forces states with strict gun laws to recognize conceal-and-carry permits issued by any other state, even if those states' permit requirements are lax in comparison. This is unjust and ultimately dangerous, especially for communities faced with high crime rates.

* The sobering statistics from the U.S. Census report speak volumes: of the 129,741 murders that were reported between 2000 and 2008, nearly two-thirds of the victims were killed by a firearm. Equally frightening is the deadly role firearms play in domestic violence incidents. According to the American Journal of Public Health, abused women are five times more likely to be killed by their abuser if the abuser owns a firearm. Research also shows that between 1990 and 2005, firearms were used to kill more than two-thirds of spouse and ex-spouse homicide victims. These numbers are tragic. Instead of empowering our local law enforcement officers to prevent such heinous acts, H.R. 822 ties their hands by making it harder to determine whether someone carrying a gun is doing so illegally. I oppose this legislation in order to preserve the safety of our communities and prevent the gun violence that has claimed hundreds of innocent lives.

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