THE HEIGHT OF CYNICISM blotted the hallowed U.S. House of Representatives when they passed a bill that strengthens comprehensive background checks AND weakens gun safety by including Concealed-Carry Reciprocity (CCR) in the same bill. One step forward and two steps backwards.

Comprehensive background checks are proven gun safety actions. The tragic Sutherland Springs, Texas church shooting could have perhaps been prevented by increased attention to including the shooter’s name on the NICS of the FBI. Congress recognized this hole in the system and responded with a “Fix NIC” bill.

But in the words of Rev. Nancy Nord Bence of Protect Minnesota, the bill became a “Frankenstein Bill” by including the CCR, Concealed Carry Reciprocity add-on in the same bill. CCR allows those from states with few requirements to carry concealed weapons anywhere in the United States. To quote Nancy, “The gun lobby claims that CCR will create a single, standardized set of concealed carry requirements similar to the national driver’s license system. This is an absolute lie. In reality, CCR would force law enforcement officers to learn 50 different sets of permitting requirements in order to determine if someone from out of state is legal to carry a gun in Minnesota – and goes too far as to threaten personal liability for any police officer who gets it wrong.”

Of course, the gun lobby promotes the bill as a “safety” measure which allows people to protect themselves. The NRA has given this bill its “highest legislative priority”. The bill also promotes increased gun sales by making gun use more “universally applicable”. More guns=more safety. Right? Wrong.

Melissa Jeltsen writes in the Huffington Post, “Gun violence experts and victim’s advocates say the legislation is particularly alarming for domestic violence survivors, who are in more danger when their abusers are able to carry hidden firearms.” CCR allows a person to get a permit in a more permissive gun law state and carry it into another state that may have more restrictive laws and potentially do lethal harm.

The bill has passed the House. Now onto the Senate. Contact your senator and urge them to oppose CCR and keep the “Fix NIC” portion. Protect lives!

Rev. Dr. Ron Letnes