House passes bill relaxing concealed carry laws across state lines
WAUSAU (WAOW) -
The U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill Wednesday that would relax limits on carrying concealed weapons across state lines.
It's the first gun legislation lawmakers have taken up since mass shootings in Nevada and Texas killed more than 80 people.
The current concealed carry laws require gun owners to get a permit in the state they're traveling to before they can bring their weapon there.
Officials said it won't make much of an impact on people traveling into Wisconsin.
"It wouldn't change too much as we already accept the majority of state's permits with the exception of nine, ten or 11," said Wausau Police Dept. Lt. Bill Taylor. "As far as people traveling out of Wisconsin, it would probably just make it easier crossing state lines."
Supporters of the measure said there shouldn't be restrictions on law-abiding gun owners.
"It's hard to figure out if you're traveling, what every rule in every state is," said Republican Rep. Sean Duffy of Wisconsin's 7th district. "We want to see other states give us that credibility and give us reciprocity for our Wisconsin concealed carry holders."
Opponents are concerned people in states with loose laws will violate rules in more restrictive states. That's causing unease for advocates for victims of domestic violence.
"When they have less protection under the law they can have access to firearms in states where they shouldn't, and now, they're going to be able to. That's a real problem for victims," said Jane Graham-Jennings of the Wausau Women's Community Center. "It's clear in the research, victims who are in abusive relationships that are killed die from firearms."
Others said concealed carry rights are fundamental under the constitution, and believe as long as people obtain firearms safely and legally, they are entitled to do so across state lines.
"You shouldn't be allowed to carry something in one state and there's no problem and in the next state you could be potentially in some big trouble," said Jake Schira, the owner of Gunsmith Jake in Wausau.
He felt that people who follow gun laws aren't the people that should be cracked down on.
Schira said, "they carry guns because people who don't follow laws have guns wherever they want them."
The measure now goes to the Senate before heading to President Donald Trump's desk.