GOP Leaders, Gun Rights Advocates Diverge on Reciprocity

Protectors of gun rights want recognition of concealed carry permits accepted across state lines…

Republican leadership and Second Amendment advocates diverge on reciprocity

Ted Budd

(Joshua Paladino, Liberty Headlines) The House of Representatives passed two new gun laws as a single package in early December.

One of the laws, the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act, has broad support from Republicans.

H.R. 4477, the Fix NICS Act, has Republican support, but it has raised major concerns for consistent Second Amendment advocates.

The laws passed the House by a 231-198  vote — mostly because conservatives believed the benefits of the Reciprocity Act outweigh the drawbacks of the Fix NICS Act, although 14 Republicans voted no on the package.


But now conservative Republicans fear the Senate might send the Fix NICS Act to the House for a final vote, without the Reciprocity Act.

Ted Budd, R-North Carolina, sent a letter to House leadership warning widespread Republican opposition to gun legislation that does not include the Reciprocity Act.

His letter has 39 co-signers.

“We write to communicate that we will oppose any attempt to bring Fix NICS to the floor of the House for a vote unless it includes language substantially similar or identical to that of H.R. 38 [Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act],” they wrote.

Second Amendment group Gun Owners of America opposes the Fix NICS Act, even if it’s included with the Reciprocity Act.

“Passing a stand-alone reciprocity bill will restore concealed carry rights and save lives. Gun owners should not see their right to protect themselves end at their state lines,” said GOA executive director Erich Pratt. “So GOA will continue to rally our 1.5 million grassroots supporters to kill the ‘NICS Fix’ language and to pass a clean, Constitutional Carry-friendly reciprocity bill in the Senate, such as S. 446.”

But the Senate has gone the opposite direction of GOA’s original plan: “Hopefully, the passage of the reciprocity language in the House will serve to kill the background check language in the Senate.”

It appears the Senate might kill the reciprocity language, while keeping the background check language.


GOA has called H.R. 4477 the “Traffic Ticket Gun Ban.”

The National Instant Criminal Background Check System has a list of people who are ineligible to buy firearms, and GOA says Fix NICS would unjustly expand the list to include more “fugitives from justice.”

One way to qualify as a fugitive of justice is to have an unpaid traffic ticket, according to GOA.

In 2012, 20 percent of denials resulted from people being “fugitives from justice,” yet the most common reason the federal government deemed them a fugitive from justice was an unpaid traffic ticket.

GOA also claims NICS is horribly inaccurate — clocking in with a 95 percent false positive rate.

“Fix NICS would require that the rolls of Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, CHIP, and ObamaCare be trolled for recipients with PTSD, ADHD, or Alzheimer’s — that is, people who have had guardians appointed,” GOA wrote in a press release.

GOA expressed concerns that veterans, more than any other group, will lose their rights, due to PTSD resulting from service to the country.

The National Rifle Association supports the changes to NICS.

“The system is only as good as its records, and recent events have shown that sometimes the correct information is not entered into the system,” the NRA wrote in a press release. “This bill incentivizes states and government agencies to update the NICS with legitimate records of prohibited persons.”

The NRA argues that changes to NICS will make it easier for people wrongfully added to the system to appeal for the government to remove their name.

“Currently, when a person discovers they have been wrongly added to the NICS, it can take up to a year to get their name removed,” the NRA wrote. “This bill requires a response to an appeal within 60 days.”

GOA says the fact that Senators Dianne Feinstein, D-California, and Chuck Schumer, D-New York have co-sponsored Fix NICS is enough evidence to show that it undermines the Second Amendment.

Second Amendment Caucus Chairman Thomas Massie, R-Kentucky, urged opposition to the package of bills, believing that Fix NICS strips Americans of Second Amendment rights.

Massie talked with House Speaker Paul Ryan about the bill, to which Ryan responded that he “didn’t think the timing was right” for concealed carry reciprocity, Breitbart reported.