The following is a press release from the office of U.S. Senator John Thune, South Dakota:
July 20th, 2009 – Washington, D.C. – Senator John Thune has offered a bipartisan amendment to the Defense Authorization bill (S. 1390) that would help in reducing crime by providing reciprocity for the carrying of concealed firearms. The Thune amendment (#1618) would allow individuals to carry lawfully concealed firearms across state lines, while at the same time respecting the laws of the host state.
“South Dakota is one of many states with reasonable measures in place allowing citizens to protect themselves with concealed weapons,” said Thune. “Law-abiding South Dakotans should be able to exercise the right to bear arms in states with similar regulations on concealed firearms. My legislation enables citizens to protect themselves while respecting individual state firearms laws.”
Currently, some states with concealed carry laws grant reciprocity to permit-holders from other select states. Senator Thune’s bill strikes the appropriate balance between individual and states’ rights by allowing an individual to carry a concealed firearm across state lines if they either have a valid permit or if, under their state of residence, they are entitled to do so.
Reliable, empirical research shows that states with concealed carry laws enjoy significantly lower violent crimes rates than those states that do not. For example, for every year a state has a concealed carry law, the murder rate declines by three percent, rape by two percent, and robberies by over two percent. The benefits of conceal and carry extend to more than just the individuals that actually carry a firearm. Since criminals are unable to tell who is and who is not carrying a firearm just by looking at a potential victim, they are less likely to commit crimes when they fear that they may come in direct contact with an individual who is armed. This deterrent is so strong that a Department of Justice study found that 40 percent of felons had not committed crimes because they feared the prospective victims were armed.
Under the Thune Amendment, individuals who travel to other states would be required to follow the laws of the host state, including laws concerning specific types of locations in which firearms may or may not be carried.
The Thune Amendment is the pending amendment in the Senate and debate on the proposal is expected to resume on Monday afternoon. The amendment is cosponsored by Senators John Barasso (R-WY), Mark Begich (D-AK), Robert Bennett (R-UT), Tom Coburn (R-OK), John Cornyn (R-TX), John Ensign (R-NV), Michael Enzi (R-WY), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Judd Gregg (R-NH), Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Johnny Isakson (R-GA), Pat Roberts (R-KS), and David Vitter (R-LA).