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Congresswoman Louise Slaughter

Representing the 25th District of New York

Ranking Member Slaughter Speaks out Against Republicans’ Dangerous Concealed Carry Reciprocity Bill

December 5, 2017
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC — House Committee on Rules Ranking Member Louise M. Slaughter (NY-25) gave the following statement at a committee meeting this afternoon as House Republican leaders work to bring H.R. 38, the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act, to the House Floor tomorrow. This dangerous and highly partisan bill would make our communities even less safe from gun violence by requiring each state to recognize concealed carry permits from every other state, regardless of different permitting standards. With this bill, the state with the weakest standards for issuing concealed carry permits would override more restrictive standards. Slaughter’s statement as prepared for delivery is included below, and video of her remarks is available here.

“As we mark the holiday season, the American people don’t have a whole lot to celebrate with what’s going on here today.

Under the Majority’s leadership, this Congress is apparently unable to fulfill even its most basic tasks. Funding for the government expires in three days but there are no guarantees you will be able to keep the lights on despite unified control of the House, the Senate, and the White House. This committee was scheduled to consider a two week continuing resolution today, which was pulled from our agenda late this morning.

There has never been a time when the government has shut down with one party controlling all the levers of power in Washington, but it seems like we could make history this week for all the wrong reasons.

Important initiatives like the Children’s Health Insurance Program, Community Health Centers, the National Flood Insurance Program, and Perkins loans have all expired. We can’t get a vote on the DREAM Act and Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act is due to expire at the end of the month.

With so many issues before us, I think it’s particularly galling that the Majority has handed the gun lobby the pen to write a bill we are considering today that would make our communities even less safe from gun violence.

It was just a month ago tomorrow that a man with a gun went into a church in a small Texas town and killed 26 people. That includes an 18-month old baby. He also wounded 20 more. One family lost 8 of its cherished members. Those killed in the attack equaled about seven percent of this small town’s entire population.

This is not the time for Congress to allow dangerous people to carry a gun all across the country without regard to state laws. Yet under the bill we are considering today, violent offenders and people with no firearm safety training would be able to carry hidden, loaded handguns – even if they could not otherwise legally purchase a gun in the state.

Let’s be honest with the American people about its effects – if this bill passes, violent offenders with loaded handguns could be coming to a community near you.Even if you reside in a state with tough gun laws.

Groups like the Major Cities Chiefs Association, Police Foundation, and Police Executive Research Forum alloppose concealed carry legislation. And H.R. 38 goes further than a similar bill in the Senate by exposing members of law enforcement to personal litigation if, by mistake, they question someone’s ability under the law to have a gun. Does the Majority really want to make members of law enforcement afraid to do their job? 

It is appalling that this NRA bill is being combined with a separate, bipartisan bill to improve background checks in response to the shooting in Texas.

This is simply sabotage. A bipartisan bill to improve the National Instant Criminal Background Check System would pass overwhelmingly not only in the House, but also in the Senate. But a combined concealed carry bill may not have the 60 votes it needs to pass on the other side of the Capitol.

Every day in America, 93 people on average are killed with a gun. There have been close to a thousand mass shootings since Sandy Hook, where three or more people have lost their lives. Our communities are being torn apart. Whether it’s a church, movie theater, concert, or a school, the threat of gun violence is there with us.

There are no sanctuaries from gun violence in America.

Sixteen of America’s top retired military commanders just this week are pleading with Congress to do something about it. They don’t want military weapons being used on America’s streets. But sadly, their pleas, and those of the people we represent, are being ignored.”