A new law is working its way through Congress that, if passed, would destroy each state's ability to pass its own gun control laws — letting states with weak gun control laws overrule states with strict ones.
The Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act would make it so that people who are granted a license to carry a concealed firearm in their own state could do so everywhere in the country, according to CBS News. The bill has already passed the House of Representatives and is supported by President Donald Trump, meaning that it only needs to pass in the Senate before it becomes the law of the land.
The bill has 39 co-sponsors in the Senate.
"Nineteen states don’t require any gun safety training in order to carry a concealed gun in public, while 12 states don’t require a permit or background check," Andrew Zucker of Everytown for Gun Safety, told Salon in an email. "So a state like New Mexico that requires a permit and gun safety training would be forced to allow Arizonans to carry, even if they don't have a permit and have never had a background check or any form of training."
"Bottom line: concealed carry reciprocity undermines state gun laws and allows people with dangerous histories and no training to carry hidden, loaded guns in public across the country. It’s the NRA’s dream, but a public safety nightmare," he added.
Opponents of gun control, on the other hand, characterized the bill as a common sense measure, one that will allow Americans to defend themselves regardless of where they are in the country and protects them from inadvertently becoming criminals.
"These laws change on a quarterly basis, if not more often. So you can easily go from being a responsibly armed citizen, who's 100 percent legal, to being a criminal just by crossing state lines," Tim Schmidt, president and founder of the United States Concealed Carry Association, told CBS News.
Although opposition to gun control is very popular among conservatives, the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act actually goes against the grain of prevailing sentiment on that issue. A Gallup poll released earlier this month found that 59 percent of Americans are dissatisfied with the current state of gun control laws, with 46 percent of those saying they want stricter laws and 8 percent saying they want laws to be less strict, according to Newsweek. This is the sixth year in a row that a majority of poll respondents wanted a change in gun control laws, with the number who want those laws to be stricter at its highest in 18 years (since the poll began being conducted).
"As the conservative movement has outsourced its thought leadership to the angry guy at the end of the bar, that's really the case when it comes to guns," Charlie Sykes, author of "How the Right Lost Its Mind," told Salon in October. "And you cannot overstate the degree to which the Republican Party is in the thrall of the NRA or how radical and extreme the NRA has become in its rhetoric."