How can these men sleep at night? Iowa’s Republican congressmen voted last week to expand the ability of unfit and unqualified people to legally carry guns freely across state lines. The gun bill they voted to be the national law of the land will legally force the opening of state borders to untrained, untested and unknown gun-toting travelers.
Thursday, December 14th marked the 5th anniversary of the Sandy Hook elementary school massacre. The 20 first graders, six and seven-year-old angels, were savagely mowed down by a young man that was mentally disturbed. That killer should never have had access to a gun. Yet, Congressmen Blum, King and Young voted for a bill last week that expanded the gun rights to people from states with no permitting requirements. Since the residents of those states don’t require background checks, they may be issuing guns to domestic abusers, mentally disturbed individuals or criminals.
“From a public health perspective, this bill is a very bad idea,” said Jon Vernick, co-director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research. “States that do today a better job of keeping especially high-risk people away from a concealed carry permit would have their law undermined by the law of weaker states.”
Currently, 12 states require no conceal carry permits. In those 12 states any resident can simply buy and carry a gun with no training, no background check and no screening. This bill forces every state to legally open their borders and allow residents of these 12 states with no standards to bring and carry their guns.
The bill, Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017, legally authorizes residents from states that don’t require concealed carry permits, to legally bring and carry their guns in states with specific gun permitting standards. There are 12 states that don’t require any conceal carry permit while the other 38 states require a state-issued permit to carry a concealed weapon. Those 38 states have varying requirements and standards for their residents to obtain a conceal-carry permit. This law overrides those states with tough gun standards and legally allows visitors to violate the gun standards of these states.
These Congressmen voted for a bill that is a dive to the bottom in gun safety standards. Their vote nullifies permitting requirements for visitors to states like New York and California with high gun safety standards. A resident of Missouri with no permitting requirements will be able to legally carry their gun in New York even though that individual might never be able to legally qualify for a permit under New York or California law.
How do these three Republican Congressmen justify the further loosening of already inadequate gun safety standards? How do they explain their support for an expansion of federal law that supersedes state law? Republicans nearly always tell the public that states know best how to enforce local law. Blum, King and Young just voted to punish states that believe their residents deserve to be safe from untrained and dangerous gun toting visitors.
In an editorial last week, the Des Moines Register wrote that this dangerous gun expansion bill should be named, “Blowing a Hole in States’ Rights Act of 2017”… “An Iowan who wants to secure a permit to carry a handgun is required to undergo nominal training and obtain a permit. The bill in Congress would allow someone from Kansas or North Dakota, where no permit is required, to entirely disregard Iowa’s law and legally carry a concealed weapon.”
Our three Republican Congressmen have insulted the memory of all the victims of gun violence by their reckless vote to weaken gun safety laws. It’s obvious they have surrendered their common sense to the demands of the gun lobby. The NRA is celebrating the vote, calling it their “largest legislative priority.”
Congressmen Blum, King and Young must be made to pay the price for this dangerous gun vote. The price to be paid is their forced retirement in 2018. Let’s elect individuals that will protect Iowa residents and respect Iowa’s right to decide which laws Iowa visitors must obey.
by Rick Smith