WASHINGTON – The stream of calls for U.S. Sen. Al Franken to resign on Wednesday drowned out some important news for Minnesotans.
The U.S. House approved a proposal that day, by a vote of 231-198, that would allow people with a concealed carry permit in one state to legally travel with hidden guns to any other state in the nation.
The measure is controversial because it means that people granted concealed carry permits in states with thin requirements would be able to take them into states with tougher laws where they would otherwise be ineligible. Currently, states can choose to honor or not honor concealed carry permits from individual states, but the legislation would require them to honor permit-holders from all other states.
Police chiefs of major cities, such as Houston and Baltimore, oppose the measure as a threat to public safety.
Several groups urged U.S. Rep. Jason Lewis, a Republican, not to support the bill: Protect Minnesota, as well as the gun violence prevention organization founded by former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords — a victim of gun violence — and her husband, Mark Kelly. Giffords began running TV and digital ads in Lewis’ district, which is among the most competitive, and called on lawmakers to support public safety.
Lewis and Minnesota’s other GOP lawmakers, Tom Emmer and Erik Paulsen, voted for the bill. Democratic U.S. Rep. Collin Peterson was one of six Democrats to cross party lines and back the legislation. Reps. Tim Walz, Betty McCollum, Keith Ellison and Rick Nolan voted against it. The bill is likely to encounter a tougher battle in the Senate.