Thursday, July 23, 2009

Victory! Senate Rejects National Hidden Handgun Amendment!

In a great victory for gun violence prevention advocates, the U.S. Senate rejected dangerous legislation that would have forced states to accept concealed weapons permits issued by other states, even if those other states have far weaker laws. NECPGV applauds the thirty-nine Senators who stood up for public safety and voted to successfully defeat the Thune Amendment.

The Senate voted to defeat the Thune Amendment (No. 1618) to the Defense Authorization bill (S. 1390) co-sponsored by Senators John Thune (R-SD) and David Vitter (R-LA). The amendment would have reduced concealed carry permit regulations to the lowest common denominator and would have had an extreme impact on the three New England states that do not have reciprocity agreements with any other state.

Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island have very strict requirements for issuing concealed weapons permits and do not recognize permits from any other state. Individuals wishing to carry concealed weapons must apply directly to these states for a permit. The Thune Amendment would have gutted these safety laws. It should be noted that Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island have some of the lowest firearm death rates in the nation.

It was extremely frustrating to listen to the debate in the Senate as Senators Thune, Vitter, and others kept referring to ten and twenty-year-old research in an effort to validate their erroneous claims. They were quick to cite these old studies but neglected to reference the numerous studies that followed and drew into question the original claims. Gary Kleck’s claim of 2.5 million defensive gun uses a year has been totally and thoroughly discredited (for one example see Survey Research and Self-Defense Gun Use: An Explanation of Extreme Overestimates, David Hemenway, Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology, 1997) but that didn’t stop the Senators from repeatedly throwing out this bogus number. Ten years later research papers are still be written debunking John Lott’s writings on concealed carry laws (January, 2009, Journal of the American Institute for Economic Research, Yet Another Refutation of the More Guns, Less Crime Hypothesis, Ian Ayres and John Donohue). But a decade of research on why Lott’s numbers don’t work was meaningless to Senators Thune and Vitter who continued to cling to the old, dusty, disproved material.

Jeers to the three New England Senators who, once again, continued to tow the line for the gun lobby. Senators Snowe and Collins from Maine and Senator Gregg from New Hampshire all voted to gut and trample states’ rights and force communities to accept hidden, loaded guns in family-friendly places, putting our law enforcement officials and our communities at greater risk of violence.

Three cheers for the rest of the Senators from New England who had the courage to stand up to the gun lobby and voted for our public safety. Many, many thanks go to Vermont Senators Leahy and Sanders, New Hampshire Senator Shaheen, Rhode Island Senators Reed and Whitehouse, Massachusetts Senator Kerry, and Connecticut Senators Lieberman and Dodd.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Stop the National Hidden Handgun Bill

States currently have the authority to determine their own carry concealed weapons (CCW) policies. Most New England states show great care and caution when issuing concealed weapons permits. They also limit which out-of-state visitors can carry concealed handguns. But the gun lobby is trying to change this.

Legislation now pending in the U.S. Senate would force our communities to permit untrained individuals from other states to carry loaded, hidden handguns in public. It would allow out-of-state visitors to carry concealed firearms even if those visitors have not met the standards for carrying concealed weapons in the state they are visiting.

It would also permit residents who don't meet the ccw requirements in their own states to obtain a permit from a state with lower standards, thus circumventing and undermining their local requirements.

S. 845, the "Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2009," could dramatically increase the number of individuals carrying concealed loaded handguns in public in your state.

The practical effect of this legislation would be reduce concealed carry permit regulations to the lowest common denominator. This is particularly dangerous as many states have weak laws and issue individuals permits after only a simple computerized background check-through a database that is missing millions of disqualifying criminal and mental health records.

Just how dangerous is this proposal? In 2009, there have already been three MASS shootings by concealed carry permit holders - including the murder of three police officers in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

The gun lobby is still gloating over their success with pushing concealed weapons into our National Parks. This legislation goes even further, undermines state authority and would allow armed individuals from virtually any other state to cross state lines with their deadly weapons and carry loaded guns in public.

The U.S. Senate is expected to vote on S. 845 as early as Monday, July 13. We need your help NOW to tell the Senate to stand up and say "NO" to the gun lobby and "NO" to more concealed handguns in our communities.

Please, call your U.S. Senators today and tell them to vote NO on S. 845 in any form, whether it is offered as a stand alone bill or an amendment to another bill.

To find your Senators visit:

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and ask to be connected to your Senators' offices.

THANK YOU for caring and for your time and energy.