Thursday, July 16, 2009 at 2:41 p.m.
City of Miami Mayor Manny Diaz has come out against the "Respecting States Rights and Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2009." The bill, introduced by Sen. Jon Thune (R-ND), would allow citizens who have a license to carry a concealed firearm in their state to carry one in another state if that state issues concealed firearm licenses. It could water down the existing concealed weapons laws of many states. Only states who don't issue concealed weapons legislation (there are only two of them) would be exempt. Florida's laws concerning the matter are already pretty weak.
"If passed, this legislation will infringe upon the ability of our state and local governments to protect our citizens with sensible, constitutional, community-specific laws and regulations regarding the carrying of hidden handguns. It will empower gun traffickers, making it easier for them to transport the guns they sell to criminals without being apprehended by law enforcement. The bill threatens to further compromise the safety of our police officers, facing them with the increasingly difficult task of distinguishing between the legal and illegal possession of a firearm."
The funny thing about inserting "respecting states rights" into the title is that this bill would do the opposite. Instead of allowing individuals states and municipalities to decide their own laws regarding concealed firearms, it forces them to accept the decision and licenses of other states. This bill has mostly Republican support, but if someone tried to pass a bill saying states must recognizes same-sex marriage licenses, they'd be the first in line crying, "This goes against states rights!"
But considering this bill has only one democratic cosponsor (Mark Begich -- of Alaska, at that), it's probably dead on arrival.