Make Them Hear You! is a weekly feature on KGNU, produced by Chris Mohr, letting listeners know how they can have their voices heard on issues up before Congress. You can hear it Wednesday mornings at 8.20am during the Morning Magazine.
The National Rifle Association is now being investigated by the FBI after supporter Paul Erickson arranged a meeting between Donald Trump Junior and Aleksandr Torshin, a Putin ally, reputed mobster and deputy governor of the Russian central bank. A recent article with the headline , “F.B.I. Investigating Whether Russian Money Went to N.R.A. to Help Trump,” sounds like a plot for a liberal fantasy movie. Liz Kennedy, the senior director of Democracy and Government Reform, said, “If this investigation in fact finds that illegal behavior occurred, this would really be the kind of illegal foreign spending that we were warning would happen.” Senate Democrats twice tried to pass the Disclose Act in the Obama days, which would require greater transparency about the sources of political donations; both times, Republicans filibustered.
This has not stopped the NRA from promoting its top-priority legislation, the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017, which would allow a qualified individual to carry a concealed handgun into another state that allows individuals to carry concealed firearms. Individuals are not subject to the federal prohibition on possessing a firearm in a school zone, and may carry or possess the concealed handgun in federally owned lands that are open to the public.
The bill recently passed in the House 231-198. Everytown for Gun Safety, with cofounder ex-New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, is reportedly putting up $25 million to oppose the reciprocity legislation. This means somebody from North Dakota could carry a concealed handgun into a New York subway. California residents who had been turned down for concealed-carry permits in California could apply for a permit in neighboring Arizona, which does not require applicants to be Arizona residents, and be legally permitted to carry in California after all. It would truly be a race to the bottom among the states for concealed carry permits. “I believe concealed carry reciprocity would make it harder for law enforcement officers to do their jobs.” Said Major Sabrina Tapp-Harper of the Baltimore City Sheriff’s Office.
This was the sixth version of a concealed-carry reciprocity bill introduced since 2007, all strongly supported with NRA lobbying money and hundreds of thousands of gun rights activists flooding congressional phone lines before it finally passed in the House. It went to the Senate at the end of December as SB 446, The Constitutional Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017 — and is considered a nonstarter in its present form. It is currently in the Senate Judiciary Committee, where it may well be amended to make it more likely to pass. But this is the farthest this bill has ever gotten, and the NRA is not backing down. Right now, Senators are being flooded with lobbying money from the NRA and countless phone calls from their members. I’ve personally read many articles in gun magazines telling their readers to contact their Senators to support this bill.
If you have an opinion on the NRA’s top legislative priority, the Senate’s Constitutional Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017, you can contact your Senators and share your concerns.