A Republican-led effort to allow Illinois residents to carry concealed weapons by obtaining a permit in another state — loosening D.C. gun laws in the process — did not pass a final hurdle on Monday night before major gun legislation reaches the House floor.
Rep. Timothy Johnson and four fellow Illinois members of Congress offered an amendment to the National Right to Carry Reciprocity Act that would allow a resident of a state or jurisdiction that does not allow concealed-carry permits to obtain the permit in another state and then use it in their home state. The amendment also would allow people with a concealed-carry permit in another state to bring that privilege with them into Illinois or the District.
Mr. Johnson’s spokesman, Phil Bloomer, said the measure would have a tangible impact on the District — even though it is aimed at concerns in the Land of Lincoln — because the nation’s capital and Illinois are the only jurisdictions in the United States that do not allow concealed carry in some form. The broadly written amendment applied to any “state or jurisdiction.”
The Committee on Rules reviewed the proposal and other amendments Monday evening to decide which were suitable for consideration on the House floor. However, the Illinois effort did not make the cut.
The overall bill would allow people with a permit to carry a concealed weapon to enjoy that privilege in any state that also allows concealed carry, but not in jurisdictions that prohibit concealed carry — namely, Illinois and the District. Proponents of the bill say it is akin to state-issued driver’s licenses and smooths over a hodgepodge of reciprocity agreements among various states and respects individual state laws that prohibit concealed carry in places such as bars or schools.
The Illinois effort echoed a more explicitly D.C.-related debate that Rep. Louie Gohmert, Texas Republican, brought to the floor during the bill’s journey through the Judiciary Committee last month.
Mr. Gohmert unsuccessfully proposed an amendment that would allow people from other states to carry concealed weapons when they enter the District. His fellow Republicans rejected it, citing procedure and the need for a “clean bill” on the House floor.
Rep. Trey Gowdy, South Carolina Republican and chairman of a subcommittee on D.C. affairs, voted “present” on Mr. Gohmert’s proposal. He said that while he is a “states’ rights guy,” the Constitution has spoken for the right to carry a firearm.
“The Supreme Court has already spoken,” Mr. Bloomer added, a reference to the landmark District of Columbia v. Heller decision that struck down the District’s long-standing ban on handguns.
The National Rifle Association strongly supports the bill, but does not want any amendments to upset its passage.
“We want a clean bill,” NRA spokeswoman Rachel Parsons said Monday afternoon.