The House has passed a bill that would allow Americans licensed to carry concealed firearms in their own states to bring those weapons legally into other states. The president also supports the bill, called the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act. Steve Kroft takes a look at the pros and cons of the controversial bill that the U.S. Senate could make law. His report will be broadcast on the next edition of 60 Minutes, Sunday, Feb. 11 at 7:00 p.m. ET/PT.
"I wouldn't presume to tell the residents of West Virginia what their gun laws should be…but I don't think they or Congress should be having West Virginia laws put on New York City."
Advocates for the bill point to Shaneen Allen as a perfect example of why the new law is needed. The single mother and mugging victim, licensed to carry a concealed pistol in Pennsylvania, was jailed in neighboring New Jersey after police found the gun in her purse during a traffic stop. "So you can easily go from being a responsibly armed citizen, who's 100 percent legal, to being a criminal just by crossing state lines," says Tim Schmidt, president and founder of the U.S. Concealed Carry Association. He says the bill is a way to prevent the arrests of responsible citizens, like Allen, from running afoul of inconsistent state guns laws.
Populous states like New Jersey and New York are among several states where concealed carry permits are difficult to obtain. Such states often require training, background checks and a documented need to carry. Other states' requirements are not as stringent; some states, typically rural ones, have no requirements at all. Manhattan District Attorney, Cyrus Vance is against the law. "You bring that kind of firepower, even with well-intentioned people, it's going to be extremely dangerous," he tells Kroft. "I wouldn't presume to tell the residents of West Virginia what their gun laws should be…but I don't think they or Congress should be having West Virginia laws put on New York City."
"The individual right to carry a firearm in defense of our lives and our families does not and should not end at any state line."
Vance and New York City's police commissioner, James O'Neill, who is also interviewed, have established a coalition of big-city prosecutors and police chiefs from across the country to oppose the law. The U.S. Concealed Carry Association, and other guns rights groups, like the powerful National Rifle Association, are lobbying heavily for it. The NRA's stance is clear, stating on its website, in part, "The individual right to carry a firearm in defense of our lives and our families does not and should not end at any state line."
Kroft also interviews the author of the bill, Rep. Richard Hudson (R-NC) and Robyn Thomas of the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence.