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Violence Policy Center

Violence Policy Center

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Gun-rights advocates had been hopeful of winning passage of the measure after a string of surprising victories in the Democratic-controlled Congress.

Congress earlier this year voted to allow visitors to carry loaded guns in national parks and wildlife refuges.

The Senate also voted to limit Washington, D.C.'s gun-control laws, and a House committee recently voted to prevent public housing projects from restricting legally owned guns.

NRA executive vice president Wayne LaPierre said that the bipartisan majority vote, nonetheless, was "an important step forward" in the group's efforts to allow gun-permit holders to carry weapons across state lines.

NRA lobbyist Chris W.

Cox added that the group will work to bring the legislation back before Congress again.

But opponents of the Thune measure -- including California Gov.

Arnold Schwarzenegger, the International Assn.

of Chiefs of Police and the mayors of Los Angeles and New York City -- assailed it as an assault on states' rights and warned it would increase gun violence.

"This is a grave threat to public safety," said Sen.

Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.).

"Concealed-weapons laws that work in rural states may not be suitable in urban areas.

What's good for Iowa or Alaska may not be good for California or New York." Feinstein was joined by Sen.

Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) in voting against the measure.

Sen.

Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) called the measure "probably the most dangerous" gun legislation since Congress allowed the federal assault-weapons ban to expire in 2004.

Kristen Rand, legislative director of the Violence Policy Center, said after the vote that the measure's defeat was a "victory for those who support a sane national gun policy." The measure created a political dilemma for Democrats, who have championed gun control in the 1980s and 1990s but backed away from the issue after the 2000 election, when their party's presidential candidate, Al Gore, was believed to have lost support in rural states because of his support for gun control.

Democrats also strengthened their House and Senate majorities by gaining seats in rural areas, underscoring the divisions within the party over gun legislation.

Indeed, Senate Democrat Reid, who supported the measure today, faces a possible tough reelection campaign next year in Nevada.

Republicans have delighted in bringing up gun measures to force Democrats to cast politically tough votes.

The gun measure would have allowed a firearms owner from a state with less stringent standards for securing a weapon permit to bring his or her weapons into a state with tougher requirements.

The Los Angeles County sheriff's office, for example, requires permit holders to undergo eight hours of training.

In contrast, Mississippi residents can get a concealed-weapon permit without any training, including shooting a pistol on a range, according to the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, a gun-control group.

Only a handful of states currently allow all out-of-state permit holders to carry weapons in their states.

A number of states, including California, prohibit out-of-staters from bringing concealed weapons into their states, and others recognize permits only from some states, typically those with equivalent or higher standards.

Illinois and Wisconsin do not issue permits for carrying a concealed weapon.

"California sets a very high bar for those who wish to obtain a concealed-weapon permit.

It does not honor permits granted elsewhere," Feinstein said.

And its standards are so strict, she said, the state has issued only about 40,000 concealed-weapon licenses.

If the legislation passes, however, hundreds of thousands of gun permit holders owners could bring their weapons into the state.

Florida, for example, has 591,831 concealed-weapon permit holders who would now be able to carry their guns to dozens of new states; Texas has 314,574 license holders.

Thune said that a gun owner would be required to abide by the laws of the host state, including any restrictions on where concealed weapons can be carried .



http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-gun-vote23-2009jul23,0,4514090.story
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