U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., is throwing herself back into the gun control debate, having announced today that she’ll introduce the “Common-Sense Concealed Firearms Act of 2011,” which would require all states that let residents carry concealed weapons in public to have minimum standards for granting permits.
“The tragic events in Tucson earlier this month are a reminder of why we need common-sense gun laws,” Boxer said in a news release this afternoon. “This measure will establish reasonable permitting standards for Americans who wish to carry concealed firearms. According to a recent poll, more than 60 percent of respondents believe there should be a reasonable permitting process for those who wish to carry concealed firearms.”
Boxer’s office says her bill would “require all states that allow residents to carry concealed weapons to establish permitting processes that would include meaningful consultation with local law enforcement authorities to determine whether the permit applicant is worthy of the public trust and has shown good cause to carry a concealed firearm.”
Two states – Illinois and Wisconsin – and the District of Columbia don’t let residents carry concealed firearms in public at all, while Arizona, Alaska and Vermont let residents do so without needing any permit. The other 45 states require permits, “but the majority of these states would not meet the standard set in this bill,” Boxer’s office said.
As she won’t introduce the bill until the Senate reconvenes next week, we don’t know yet what that standard will be.
Whatever it is, expect immediate opposition from gun-rights groups such as the National Rifle Association. Here in California, there’ll be an outcry from members of the open carry movement, which advocates carrying unloaded handguns in public partly as a safety measure and partly as a political statement spotlighting many Californians’ difficulty in obtaining concealed-carry permits from their counties. I anticipate talking to them next week, when we’ll have a clearer idea of what Boxer’s bill actually would require.
Though it’s too early to say for sure, I’d say such a bill stands little chance; it most likely would see a Republican filibuster in the Senate, and would be DOA in the GOP-controlled House.