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Police chiefs to Congress: Concealed carry reciprocity bill a 'dangerous encroachment' on states

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A coalition of police chiefs sent a letter to Congress asking them not to pass the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act. The bill, which passed the House in December, would allow gun owners with concealed carry permits in one state to carry their concealed weapon in any state, regardless of that state's laws and requirements to hold a permit. (2016 file photo/George Frey/Getty Images)

A coalition of police chiefs has sent a clear message to Congress: Don't pass the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act.

The International Association of Chiefs of Police, which represents 18,000 departments across the country, sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) Thursday, the Washington Post reported.

"This legislation is a dangerous encroachment on individual state efforts to protect public safety," the letter reads.

What is the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act?

The Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act, which passed the House in December, would allow gun owners with concealed carry permits in one state to carry their concealed weapon in any state, regardless of that state's laws and requirements to hold a permit.

Some states already recognize concealed carry permits of other states. This legislation seeks to require all states to recognize the permits of all other states, and is viewed by the National Rifle Association and many gun rights advocates as important legislation in support of the Second Amendment.

What is the argument against this legislation?

In the letter, the coalition of police chiefs argues that the legislation infringes on states' abilities to set their own law enforcement and public safety standards. They also suggest that the blanket law would make it easier for people with counterfeit concealed carry permits to carry.

Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo told the Post that he doesn't want other states' more lax standards for receiving a permit to be used in Texas.

"Texas is a state that takes gun ownership seriously," Acevedo said. "Until we have that kind of standard nationwide, we should not be forced to accept reciprocity with places where any buffoon who has a pulse gets to carry a gun. We want a national standard. ... It should not be one-size-fits-all."

Texas requires training and a demonstration of proficiency for a person to receive a permit to concealed carry. Twelve states have "constitutional carry" laws that allow people to carry concealed firearms without a permit.

What about attorneys general support?

A group of 24 states' attorneys general sent a letter to Congress in support of the bill, asserting that "states that refuse to allow law-abiding, nonresident visitors to carry concealed weapons place their occupants in greater danger — not less — from gun violence."

(H/T: The Hill)

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