WILKES-BARRE — U.S. Rep. Lou Barletta on Thursday said people with concealed carry permits have proven to be more law-abiding than non-permit holders.
That’s why Barletta, R-Hazleton, voted for the National Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act — which passed the U.S. House by a bipartisan vote of 231-198.
The legislation would allow law-abiding Americans who are qualified to carry concealed handguns in one state to also carry in other states with concealed carry laws. The bill also includes language from the Fix NICS Act of 2017, which would ensure agencies are reporting to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS).
Currently, 42 states broadly recognize law-abiding citizens’ right to carry concealed handguns for self-defense. All 50 states allow some form of concealed carry. Barletta has consistently supported concealed carry reciprocity.
“The right for law-abiding Americans to own firearms is clearly affirmed in the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution,” Barletta said in a news release. “Concealed carry permit holders have proven to be more law-abiding statistically than non-permit holders. Since states have moved to pass carry laws, violent crime has plummeted.”
While all 50 states allow concealed carry in some form, since 1991, 25 states have adopted Right to Carry laws. Since 1991, the number of people with carry permits has risen to over 12 million, and the nation’s violent crime rate has decreased 51 percent, Barletta said. In Vermont, a constitutional carry state, the violent crime rate decreased by 19 percent from 2012 to 2014.
The legislation upholds all federal prohibitions on individuals who cannot legally possess a firearm, including those convicted of a crime punishable by a year imprisonment, convicted of a misdemeanor domestic violence charge, or individuals who have been proven mentally incapable of possessing a gun.
Barletta went on to say the patchwork of state permit requirements has created a complex legal web citizens must navigate when traveling across state lines. He said the bill maintains states’ rights to determine permit requirements, but allows citizens who meet the qualifications for concealed carry in their home states to carry in any state as long as they follow the local concealed carry laws.