Gun Owners of America ________________________________________ Battle Raging on Capitol Hill with regard to Concealed Carry If you have ever questioned whether your emails and phone calls make a difference, then stop wondering. Your activism on the concealed carry bills in the U.S. Senate is doing a bang-up job! Gun Owners of America has been working with the sponsors of the soon-to-be-introduced Thune-Vitter reciprocity bill, and we can report that there are at least 15 cosponsors on the bill! By contrast, the Begich-Manchin Democrat compromise bill (S. 2188) has only one additional cosponsor. Senators John Thune (R-SD) and David Vitter (R-LA) plan to introduce their bill early next week -- and thus, their bill won’t receive a number until then. But we need a whole new round of emails to get even more original cosponsors on their bill. Again, the Thune-Vitter legislation will not only allow permit holders to carry out-of-state, but NON-PERMIT HOLDERS from constitutional carry states, as well. Sadly, we have been receiving emails from our grassroots activists showing that the NRA is taking aim at our position on these two bills. Hence, we would like to make the following points in order to prevent any confusion. 1. NRA POSITION: “There is no Thune-Vitter bill because one hasn’t been introduced. Therefore, it is impossible to ‘support the Thune-Vitter bill rather than the Democrat-sponsored S. 2188.’” GOA RESPONSE: As stated above, Senators Thune and Vitter are currently gaining cosponsors before the actual introduction of their bill. This is a common practice that legislators use in order to make a “big splash” with a large number of original cosponsors. For anyone who works on Capitol Hill to claim ignorance of this process is, quite honestly, laughable. 2. NRA POSITION: The Begich-Manchin bill “does not undermine or abandon permitless carry. Groups suggesting this are simply lying or incapable of reading the bill. Residents of Vermont, or any other ‘Constitutional Carry’ state, who wish to carry out of state could simply obtain a nonresident permit (just as they do now) and enjoy the benefits of S. 2188.” GOA RESPONSE: Subsection (c)(2)(B) of S. 2188 requires that anyone benefiting from carry reciprocity possess “a valid license or permit that ... permits the individual to carry a concealed firearm.” In other words, S. 2188 fails to protect NON-PERMIT HOLDERS in constitutional carry states -- and these gun owners represent the MAJORITY of law-abiding citizens who can carry. There are currently five states where citizens can carry without the government’s permission: Vermont, Alaska, Arizona, Wyoming, and most of Montana. And the South Dakota Governor currently has a bill sitting on his desk to enable citizens to carry guns without prior government permission. In addition to all of this, there are eleven states which are seriously considering “constitutional carry” legislation: Colorado, Iowa, Georgia, Kentucky, Maine, New Hampshire, Ohio, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, South Carolina and Virginia. Many more states will move in this direction after the beginning of the year. But what if the federal government holds up an enormous “carrot” for pro-gun activists to obtain permits, irrespective of whether their states require it? The answer is that the incentive for these activists to push for “constitutional carry” will vanish. S. 2188 will snub non-permit holders in “constitutional carry” states, while the Thune-Vitter bill will grant reciprocity to them. Unless one thinks that New York’s crime problems result from “vicious killers” from Vermont, Alaska and the other constitutional carry states, then there shouldn’t be a problem enabling average citizens to carry concealed without permits. After all, criminals don’t line up for carry licenses. 3. NRA POSITION: “S. 2188 would not ... impose national standards.” GOA RESPONSE: Well, GOA never said it did. And thankfully, this is an issue where GOA can claim victory, as previous reciprocity bills over the past several years have included such “national standards.” But this is just another example of how your activism makes a real difference! Both Begich and Manchin HAVE YET TO CAST A PRO-GUN VOTE during this Congress. (You can check this out by viewing their voting records on the GOA website.) So why would we trust them to do the right thing on gun legislation? Is this just an attempt to reelect Democrats and keep Harry Reid in power? ACTION: Please click HERE to urge your U.S. Senators to cosponsor the Thune-Vitter bill over the Begich-Manchin bill.