Bell County: Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act generates some heat

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BELL COUNTY, Texas (KWTX) The national debate about gun laws could get even more heated, as a bill passes through Congress that could change the way states recognize concealed carry permits.

(Photo by Kathleen Serie)

Under the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act, those who are allowed to carry concealed weapons in their home states would be allowed to carry concealed guns in every other state, regardless of the states’ specific rules and regulations.

Damon Cross has owned a firearms training and license to carry business in Central Texas for two years.

He said he fully supports the reciprocity act.

"I carry a firearm for one main reason,” Cross said. “It is to protect my family. So I would hate to be in one of those states who didn't allow me to do so."

There is strong opposition against this act in states with strict gun laws like California, which

It is one of eight states that generally requires a thorough background check, some training, and a proven need to carry a handgun.

In 30 other states, the rules are less strict, and 12 others have no requirements at all.

"In Texas, we have to show a proficiency,” Cross said,

“We have to qualify on the range from an instructor like me who is licensed by the state. Other states are not lie that, so I can see the concern.”

A lot of the concern is coming from law enforcement officials in larger cities like Los Angeles, Chicago and New York City, CBS reports.

Robyn Thomas, Executive Director of the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, said forcing states to accept any and all gun permits would make the weakest laws in the country the new norm.

The groups against gun violence called “Moms Demand Action” took to Twitter to voice their concerns, and to urge people to write their senators in opposition of the act.

Still, many gun owners like Cross said passing the reciprocity act would be the right move for this country.

"We're law-abiding citizens,” Cross said. “We're the good guys, and it's nothing to be afraid of, a person having a firearm."

The bill has already sailed through the U.S. House of Representatives, has roughly 40 co-sponsors in the Senate, and full support from President Donald Trump.

KWTX reached out to several local law enforcement agencies about this bill.

They said they won’t comment unless the bill becomes a law.

The Bell County Democrats also declined to comment.