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Manchin-Toomey deal could allow gun owners, sellers to carry, sell across state lines

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FILE: April 10, 2013: Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.V., left, and Patrick Toomey, R-Pa., announce a deal on gun-control legislation, on Capitol Hill, in Washington, D.C. (AP)

The deal between Sens. Joe Manchin and Pat Toomey on the gun-controlled legislation scheduled for formal Senate debate next week could make it easier to carry concealed weapons across state lines.

The provision is part of the deal Manchin, D-W.V., and Toomey, R-Pa., reached earlier this week on background checks for gun buyers and will be among the first parts of the legislation that senators will consider.

The provision is similar to the Interstate Commerce Reform Act of 2012, which was sponsored by two Republicans -- Rep. Steve Scalise, Louisiana, and Sen. Orrin Hatch, Utah. The legislation failed despite strong support from the National Rifle Association.

The proposal essentially grants states "reciprocity" regarding concealed carry provisions.

In other words, the provision would grant gun owners the right to obtain a firearm and a concealed-carry permit in their home state, then use the permit to carry and conceal the firearm in another state.

Though many states have laws on buying  firearms and concealed-carry permits, the federal provision, if adopted, could trump state laws.

The amendment states the gun owner must have been granted the permit within the past five years. However, a handful of states routinely grant lifetime permits.

The amendment also could give similar rights to firearms dealers, allowing them to sell in states beyond the one in which they were originally licensed.

Passing gun-control legislation has become a major part of President Obama’s second-term agenda since the December 2012 shootings at a Connecticut elementary school in which 20 first-graders and six adults were killed.

Americans appear to support some form of background checks to keep guns out the hands of criminals and the mentally ill, according to polls.

However, further gun control legislation has faced stiff opposition on Capitol Hill, with many Republicans and moderate Democrats saying voters in their home districts do not support such efforts.  

Proposals to ban semi-automatic weapons and high-capacity gun magazines have already been taken out of the legislation.

A Republican-backed effort to block the Senate debate was defeated this week, opening the way for the full debate. However, even if the Senate passes some form of legislation, the proposal would also face tough votes in the Republican-controlled House.