Gun rights activists spent record amounts last year to elect Republicans, but they are not likely to get their biggest wish, nationwide concealed-carry legislation, before the 2018 elections. Key members of Congress are giving priority to a measure to improve the background check system for gun purchases.
Gun rights activists spent record amounts last year to elect Republicans, but they are not likely to get their biggest wish, nationwide concealed-carry legislation, before the 2018 elections, McClatchy Newspapers reports. Activists blame the Republicans they help put in power — as well as Democrats — for the lack of action on the gun lobby’s number one legislative priority, the so-called reciprocity bill. “The gun rights community does not appreciate the fact that reciprocity languished for so long, and then following two tragic shootings, it seems the first initial response from some in the GOP was, ‘We need additional gun control,’ ” said Erich Pratt of Gun Owners of America, referring to a measure to improve gun-purchase background checks. That fix for the National Instant Criminal Background Check System was proposed after the system failed to stop the shooter from purchasing the gun used in the Texas church massacre last month.
The House passed the background fix, tied to concealed carry reciprocity, which gun rights advocates have been pushing for years. The Senate wants to take up the fix separately from concealed carry, causing some in the gun rights community to say GOP leaders are prioritizing a gun control measure over gun rights. The National Rifle Association endorsed the fix, saying it would actually help law-abiding people get through background checks more easily and with fewer false-positives. The NRA spent more than $50 million on 2016 campaigns. Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX), who has championed concealed carry, said that combining the background check and concealed carry measures, as the House did, could risk delaying the background check fix. John Feinblatt of the gun control group Everytown for Gun Safety called concealed carry reciprocity “the gun lobby’s most dangerous idea.”