Will GOP Stop States From Keeping Guns Out Of Bars?

October 13, 2011 3:50 pm ET — Chris Brown

If Congress should trample over state public safety laws regarding who can carry concealed guns, won't pushing guns into churches, bars and government buildings be next?

That's the basic question Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL) asked in today's House Judiciary markup hearing discussing the National Right-To-Carry Reciprocity Act of 2011. The bill in question would force states to recognize concealed carry permits issued by all other states. Some states issue permits to virtually everyone who qualifies to own a gun, and even grant permits to non-residents, while others have rigorous standards that would be undermined by the bill.  

Deutch pointed out that under the logic embraced by the bill's supporters, it would make sense to push for legislation that would force states that ban the carrying of guns in churches and bars to allow those who hold permits from other states that permit such action to do so.

Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ) responded by saying that they weren't pushing those particular issues in the bill under consideration. He did not give a reason why they wouldn't be next.

DEUTCH: What's the difference? If our goal here as stated is to put guns in the hands of law abiding citizens and if they're allowed to carry concealed weapons in one state they should be allowed to carry them in another. Then if that's our goal why shouldn't law abiding citizens be allowed to carry them, if they're allowed to take them into bars in one state then why shouldn't they be allowed to take them into bars in every state?

FRANKS: This amendment clearly says that the state and local laws will remain intact. All it really does in substance is to, if I have a concealed carry permit in Arizona and I travel to another state that has concealed carry provisions I don't have to also apply for one there as well, but I still have to abide their laws as if I had a concealed carry permit in that state.


The National Rifle Association (NRA) and other gun lobby groups have been pushing for the legal carrying of guns in bars, churches and elsewhere in many states. The Legal Community Against Violence recently documented the NRA's efforts to expand where guns can be carried. As more states passed "shall issue" laws requiring permits to be granted without the approval of local authorities, bills to allow guns into bars and churches followed.

There's every reason to think the same pattern will hold up, especially as NRA flag carrier Franks didn't bother explaining why it wouldn't happen.