October 02, 2017

Lawyers, Guns, and Money

Silencers, Concealed Carry, and Armor Piercing Rounds top the NRA’s 2017 wishlist.

by Chris Thomas

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Image by Theleom via Creative Commons and Flickr

The shooting in Las Vegas has drawn a great deal of political attention to the topic of gun control just as the Republican Congress is moving forward with two major expansions of gun rights. HR 38 (The Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017) is before the House Judiciary Committee; HR 3668 (The SHARE Act) has been reported to the House and may be up for a vote soon.

What Do These Bills Do?

Both of these bills serve to reduce the barriers inherent in the ownership, transport, and use of firearms. Critics suggest that the impetus for these bills may be the slump in firearms sales after the election of Donald Trump.

HR 38 — The Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act

Right now each state can set its own requirements for issuing a concealed weapons permit and can issue that permit to its citizens or citizens of other states. Some states, like California, don’t honor permits from other states. Others, like Kansas, honor permits from any US state. Most fall somewhere in the middle; for example, Nevada will honor permits from Utah and Arizona but not California or Oregon.

The Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act will require that all states honor all permits from all other states. Effectively, this makes the standard for carrying concealed the lowest standard enforced by any state in the union. Vermont residents, for example, would be legally allowed to carry concealed in any state on their 16th birthday simply by virtue of being a citizen of Vermont.

HR 3668 — The SHARE Act

The SHARE — or “Sportsmen’s Heritage and Recreational Enhancement Act” is a collection of changes to firearms and weapons regulation. The most controversial portion of the bill is Title XV which lifts restrictions on the use and ownership of silencers or suppressors. Supporters of the SHARE act contend that silencers reduce the risk of hearing damage from repeated firearms use.

Critics argue that widespread access to silencers would complicate the efforts of law enforcement to locate gunmen during a shooting. This critique is likely to be very effective as “Las Vegas Undersheriff Kevin McMahill told CNN that they found Paddock by listening to where the gunshots were coming from” and President Trump called specific attention, in his address to the nation, to the speed with which law enforcement found and stopped the shooter in Las Vegas.

The SHARE act also strips some of the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms’ (ATF) ability to regulate armor piercing ammunition. Since 1968 the ATF has been able to ban the sale of ammunition based on its ability to be used as an armor piercing handgun round. The SHARE act would require that the manufacturer label and market the rounds as pistol (not rifle) rounds in order to trigger regulation.

Tell Congress what you think!

The SHARE as exited committee and may be before the full House this week; HR 38 is still in committee. You can text RESIST to 50409, or just click here to tell your Representatives or Senators what you think about this or any other issue before Congress

Who to Talk To

As the SHARE Act (HR 3668) is already out of committee and its next step is a vote before the full House, any Congressperson can act in support of or opposition to it. The Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act (HR 38), in contrast, is before the House Judiciary committee. If your Congressman is on the committee, and especially if (s)he is on the subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations, your voice is particularly important.

House Judiciary Committee Republicans

  • Chairman Bob Goodlatte (VA-06)
  • Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, Jr. (WI-05)
  • Rep. Lamar Smith (TX-21)
  • Rep. Steve Chabot (OH-01)
  • Rep. Darrell Issa (CA-49)
  • Rep. Steve King (IA-04)
  • Rep. Trent Franks (AZ-08)
  • Rep. Louie Gohmert (TX-01)
  • Rep. Jim Jordan (OH-04)
  • Rep. Ted Poe (TX-02)
  • Rep. Tom Marino (PA-10)
  • Rep. Trey Gowdy (SC-04)
  • Rep. RaĂşl Labrador (ID-01)
  • Rep. Blake Farenthold (TX-27)
  • Rep. Doug Collins (GA-09)
  • Rep. Ron DeSantis (FL-06)
  • Rep. Ken Buck (CO-04)
  • Rep. John Ratcliffe (TX-04)
  • Rep. Martha Roby (AL-02)
  • Rep. Matt Gaetz (FL-01)
  • Rep. Mike Johnson (LA-04)
  • Rep. Andy Biggs (AZ-05)
  • Rep. John Rutherford (FL-04)
  • Rep. Karen Handel (GA-06)

House Judiciary Committee Democrats

  • Ranking Member John Conyers, Jr. (MI-13)
  • Rep. Jerry Nadler (NY-10)
  • Rep. Zoe Lofgren (CA-19)
  • Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (TX-18)
  • Rep. Steve Cohen (TN-09)
  • Rep. Hank Johnson, Jr. (GA-04)
  • Rep. Ted Deutch (FL-22)
  • Rep. Luis Gutierrez (IL-04)
  • Rep. Karen Bass (CA-37)
  • Rep. Cedric Richmond (LA-02)
  • Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (NY-08)
  • Rep. David Cicilline (RI-01)
  • Rep. Eric Swalwell (CA-15)
  • Rep. Ted Lieu (CA-33)
  • Rep. Jamie Raskin (MD-08)
  • Rep. Pramila Jayapal (WA-07)
  • Rep. Brad Schneider (IL-10)
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