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National Right-to-Carry Reciprocity Thwarted Despite Bipartisan Majority Vote

Friday, July 24, 2009

On Wednesday, July 22, by a margin of 58-39, a bipartisan majority of the U.S. Senate voted in favor of an amendment offered by Senators John Thune (R-SD) and David Vitter (R-LA) to provide interstate recognition of Right-to-Carry permits.  The amendment to S.1390 -- the National Defense Authorization Act -- would acknowledge that the right to self-defense extends across state lines. Under this provision, individuals with carry permits from their home state, or who are otherwise allowed to carry a firearm in their home state, could carry in any other state that issues permits. 

Despite the bipartisan majority of votes, the Thune-Vitter amendment did not pass because it fell just two votes short of the required 60 votes for approval.  This 60-vote approval threshold was decided upon by a procedural agreement between Senate leaders.  The agreement was, in part, used to avoid a filibuster and any hostile amendments to the Thune-Vitter amendment. 

"Today's strong majority vote in the U.S. Senate was an important step forward in the National Rifle Association's decades long effort to make Right-to-Carry and national reciprocity the law of the land," said NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre. 

In a news release, Senator Thune said, "Today, overheated rhetoric and fear mongering overcame common sense.  My amendment would allow responsible firearms owners to protect themselves while obeying the firearms laws of the states they visit.  The individual right to self-defense should not end at the state line. Despite today's defeat, this amendment had bipartisan support and I hope the Senate will reconsider this important issue in the future." 

Expanding Right-to-Carry enhances public safety, as criminals are deterred from attempting crimes when they know or suspect that their prospective victims are armed.  A U.S. Department of Justice study found that 40 percent of felons had not committed crimes because they feared the prospective victims were armed. The Thune-Vitter amendment recognized that competent, responsible, law-abiding Americans still deserve our trust and confidence when they cross state lines. 

Passing interstate Right-to-Carry legislation would not only reduce violent crime by deterring criminals, but -- most important of all -- would protect the right of honest Americans to protect themselves if deterrence fails. 

"While we are disappointed that the 60 vote procedural hurdle was not met, the vote shows that a strong bipartisan majority agrees with the NRA," said NRA-ILA Executive Director Chris W. Cox. "We would like to thank Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) and Sen. Jim Webb (D-Va.), along with all senators who voted in favor of this amendment on both sides of the aisle. The efforts of these senators were not in vain, as the NRA will continue to work tirelessly to ensure this important legislation finds the right avenue to come before Congress once again." 

If your U.S. Senator was among the 58 who voted for the Thune-Vitter amendment, please be sure to contact them and thank them for their support.  To see how your Senators voted, please click here. 

To find contact information for your U.S. Senators, please click here, or call (202) 224-3121.

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Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.