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California in Congress

Californians vote along party lines as House passes bill to allow concealed guns across state lines

 (Al Behrman / Associated Press)
(Al Behrman / Associated Press)

The GOP-controlled House voted along party lines on Wednesday to pass legislation that would require states to recognize concealed carry permits from all other states regardless of a state’s permitting standards.

Rep. Jeff Denham (R-Turlock) said after the vote that he’s more worried about Californians being able to carry their concealed weapons when they travel to other states than about people bringing concealed weapons to California from states with lower permitting requirements.

“I think California does a very good job making sure that not only are people trained but they have background checks. I’d like to see other states do that as well, but certainly from a California perspective, I think that Californians should be able to carry their weapons with them in their vehicles as they travel to other states,” Denham said.

State standards for getting a concealed weapon permit vary widely. In California, sheriffs or police may issue permits only to people who make a strong case for why they need to carry a firearm, such as people whose business involves transporting large amounts of cash. In some other states, anyone who passes a gun safety class can carry a concealed weapon.

Allowing concealed carry permits to be valid across state lines has long been a National Rifle Assn. priority. The vote could potentially be used against California Republicans during the 2018 campaign, especially in urban and suburban districts like Orange County.

In an effort to tempt Democrats to vote for the bill, the concealed carry bill was combine with legislation that encourages federal agencies and states to send updated criminal records to the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background System. Gun safety advocates called for the legislation following reports that a shooter who killed 20 people in a Texas church this year had a criminal background that was not properly reported.

The Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act, which was co-sponsored by 13 of California’s 14 Republican members, now goes to the Senate, where its chances are unclear in part because Republican senators have balked at linking the two pieces of gun legislation.

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