Congress Moves to Loosen Controls on Handguns

02.26.18 | 2 min read | Text by Steven Aftergood

Recent polls indicate that a large majority of Americans favor stricter gun laws. But lately Congress has been moving in the opposite direction.

In December, the House of Representatives passed the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017 (HR 38) which would generally allow persons who are authorized to carry a concealed handgun in one state to carry a handgun in other states even if the latter states have different eligibility requirements for concealed carry.

Not only that: The bill also provides for a private right of action so that the gun owner could sue any person or agency, apparently including a law enforcement agency, that interferes with his concealed-carry rights.

This provision “raises numerous legal questions,” the Congressional Research Service said in a brief new analysis. “For instance, what rights does the bill bestow, who may enforce them, and who may be sued for interfering with those rights?”

See Civil-Suit Provision in House-Passed Concealed Carry Reciprocity Bill (H.R. 38): Scope and Application, CRS Legal Sidebar, February 21, 2018.

These questions were also addressed at greater length in another new CRS publication. See Civil-Suit Provision in the House-passed Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017 (H.R. 38), CRS memorandum, February 20, 2018.

Other new and updated reports from the Congressional Research Service include the following.

FY2019 Budget: Government Reorganization and Federal Workforce Reform, CRS Insight, February 22, 2018

Pedal to the Metal: Commerce Recommends Revving Up Trade Measures on Steel and Aluminum, CRS Legal Sidebar, February 21, 2018

Bankruptcy and Student Loans, February 22, 2018

FY2018 Defense Spending Under an Interim Continuing Resolution, CRS In Focus, updated February 20, 2018

Defense Primer: Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering, CRS In Focus, February 21, 2018

Defense Primer: Future Years Defense Program (FYDP), CRS In Focus, February 16, 2018