MILLER: Texas Shootout — John Cornyn and Steve Stockman Senate race is all about gun rights

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While 2013 was a year of Second Amendment advocates on defense, 2014 is lining up to be a year of gaining ground on gun rights.

President Obama continues to issue his dictates. Michael R. Bloomberg is still throwing around millions of dollars. And Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is just keeping a finger in the dike on Capitol Hill until the midterms.

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But the American people are ready to get back to strengthening their rights to keep and bear arms. 

On Monday, Sen. John Cornyn introduced the Constitutional Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act, which is the first pro-gun legislation leveled since the showdown over Mr. Obama’s gun control votes last April.  

“It strikes me that, at a time we’re talking about the role of guns in society, we should acknowledge that it is a constitutional right,” the Texas Republican told me in an interview Wednesday. “Law-abiding people buy and use guns for legitimate purposes, protecting themselves and their families.” 

** FILE ** Texas Republican Sen. John Cornyn. (Associated Press)

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** FILE ** Texas Republican Sen. John Cornyn. (Associated Press) more >

He added that the iron is hot since Illinois became the 50th state to allow for concealed carry, after being forced by the federal courts in 2013 to rewrite its laws. 

Anti-gun activists have attempted to make Mr. Cornyn’s bill seem extremist.

“There’s some scaremongering going on out there, but it’s pretty straightforward,” he said. “It’s like a driver’s license. It doesn’t trump state laws. Say you have a carry permit in Texas; then you use it in another state that has a concealed-carry law.”

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This popular, common-sense legislation is necessary because the current system is totally convoluted. Each state decides which permits from other states it recognizes as lawful, and some recognize none.

Gun owners are stuck doing extensive legal research to travel, but they can still get caught in the thicket. Mr. Cornyn said, “There are some jurisdictions like to play ‘gotcha.’”

That is exactly what just happened over New Year’s when Maryland police held a Florida man at a traffic stop for three hours to search his car because records showed he had a carry permit. John Filippidis didn’t even bring his gun when he drove his wife to a family wedding in New Jersey.

But Mr. Filippidis told The Tampa Bay Tribune that he was treated “like a criminal” in anti-gun Maryland for having a gun permit, and he wasn’t even cited for a traffic violation. 

Mr. Cornyn is a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which is the first hurdle to a floor vote. (The House passed this legislation in 2011.)

Mr. Cornyn last brought up the bill in April as an amendment to “Manchin-Toomey,” which was a legislative vehicle for Mr. Obama’s gun grab. While the president’s agenda only got 52 of the 60 votes needed for passage, concealed carry got 57 votes. 

With many Democrats in rural or Western states up for re-election in 2014, Mr. Reid will have to revert to his current dictatorial tactics to prevent getting concealed carry to a vote and possibly passing.

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