DEPEW, N.Y. — Legislation that would require law enforcement to honor concealed carry permits from other states passed through the House Rules Committee on Tuesday, but not without protest from New York Democrat Louise Slaughter.
"It was just a month ago tomorrow that a man with a gun went into a church in a small Texas town, killed 26 people, including an 18-month-old baby," she said.
The congresswoman said the bill would allow violent offenders or people without training to come into states with stricter gun laws. Slaughter said it has other unintended consequences as well.
"It exposes members of law enforcement to personal litigation, if by mistake, they question someone's ability to have a gun," she said.
Western New York gun activist Harold "Budd" Schroeder sees the debate differently.
"The analogy is pretty much the same as a driver's license. Every state has different qualifications to get a driver's license, yet you can go from California to Maine on that California driver's license," Schroeder said.
He said the current legislation makes felons out of citizens who may not realize they're breaking the law. Because New York's rules are among the strictest in the nation, Schroeder said it wouldn't necessarily have as big an impact on local gun owners, but is important nonetheless.
"For one thing, we could have our friends come in from Pennsylvania to go to matches and do things like that without the concern of them being arrested," he said.
Another point of contention is the bill is tied to another piece of legislation meant to strengthen the National Instant Criminal Background Check System.
"It is appalling that this NRA bill is being combined with a separate bipartisan bill to improve background checks in response to the shooting in Texas," Slaughter said.
Schroeder, on the other hand, said he understands the importance of the so-called Fix NICS bill, but said even the database has its flaws and if tying the two together submarines its passage, that wouldn't necessarily be a bad thing.
"None of the honest gun owners want crazy people or criminals to possess firearms. I mean, that's a given, but sometimes things get overboard," he said.
Schroeder expected it will be harder to pass the legislation in the Senate where 60 votes will be needed.
"I know that both our senators here, Schumer and Gillibrand, will vote against it," he said. "There's no doubt in my mind but there are many Democratic senators from gun-friendly states and that could tip the balance."
The legislation is scheduled to reach the House floor Wednesday.