By Lucia Bragg
The U.S. House has passed H.R. 38, the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act, which would allow people who hold a concealed carry license to bring firearms across state lines, or possess them in other states regardless of state laws. The vote was 231-198.
Authored by Representative Richard Hudson (R-N.C.), the bill specifies that a gun owner must be eligible to possess, transport or receive a firearm under both federal law and in their state of residence, and carry valid photo identification. The chamber voted largely along party lines, with Democrats remaining strongly against the bill. Nearly half of states already allow concealed-carry permit holders to bring guns across state lines.
The bill also calls on Attorney General Jeff Sessions to provide legal clarifications around “bump stocks,” the semi-automatic rifle mechanisms that increase the rate of fire and were found in the hotel room of the Las Vegas shooter. While the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives announced ahead of the House vote that it is considering a possible ban on bump stocks, H.R. 38 requires that the Department of Justice report to Congress the number of times bump stocks have been used in a crime.
H.R. 38 also contains provisions strengthening the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). Following the recent mass shooting in Sutherland Springs, Texas, calls have increased to improve NICS data entry practices. Shortly after the shooting, it came to light that the Air Force had failed to update the database with the shooter’s 2012 domestic violence conviction, that would have prevented him from obtaining the firearm used. As NCSL has previously reported, the Fix NICS Act of 2017, S. 2135, was introduced in mid-November and contains similar provisions aimed at improving the database.
Lucia Bragg is a policy associate with NCSL's State-Federal Relations Division.