Rep. Paul Cook Votes to Protect Law-Abiding Citizens Right to Self-Defense
WASHINGTON- Rep. Paul Cook (R-Apple Valley) today voted for HR 38, the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017. Cook was an original co-sponsor of the bill, which passed in the House of Representatives today by a margin of 231-198.
The legislation ensures that law-abiding citizens’ Second Amendment rights are protected when they cross state lines. It allows people with a state-issued concealed carry license or permit, or individuals who are citizens of states that do not require a permit to carry a concealed firearm, to carry a concealed handgun in any other state that allows concealed carry, as long as the individual follows the laws of that state.
Existing state codes have created a confusing patchwork of reciprocity agreements for concealed
carry permit holders. Even the most careful and knowledgeable concealed carry permit holders find it difficult to navigate the current maze of state and local concealed carry laws. All 50 states already allow for some form of concealed carry, a policy that has been proven to increase public safety. A 2013 study in Applied Economic Letters found that between 1980 and 2009, “states with more restrictive concealed carry laws had gun-related murder rates that were 10 percent higher.” Additionally, a 2013 survey of 15,000 current and retired police officers found that 90 percent of them support the concealed carry of guns by civilians.
HR 38 also reauthorizes the National Instant Criminal Background Check Systems (NICS) Improvement Act and increases records submissions assistance for states. The Attorney General is required to report every two years on the improvements made to the NICS system, and law enforcement shall be notified when a prohibited person received a firearm in error. This will help ensure that criminals who have been barred from gun ownership remain unable to get their hands on firearms.
Rep. Cook said, “This important legislation will go a long way toward protecting our rights while making Americans safer. It clarifies current gun regulations, preserves the right of law-abiding citizens to right to carry a gun for self-defense, and maintains and improves safeguards to ensure we keep guns out of the hands of criminals. I urge the Senate to swiftly take up and pass this vital public safety legislation.”
A member of the House Natural Resources, Armed Services, and Foreign Affairs Committees, Cook served as an infantry officer and retired after 26 years as a Colonel in the U.S. Marine Corps. During his time in combat, he was awarded the Bronze Star and two Purple Hearts.