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The showdown over the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act

CBS News

A bill passing through Congress could change the way states recognize concealed carry permits

Of all the political and cultural issues that divide red states from blue ones, none is more volatile than guns and who can carry them.

Conservative rural states like Arizona and West Virginia allow almost anyone to carry a loaded firearm in public, while in urban states and big cities, it can be a felony.

But a piece of legislation quietly churning its way through Congress may change all that by making gun permits more like driver's licenses, transportable across state lines. If you are allowed to carry a concealed weapon in your home state, you would be allowed to carry it in all of them.

The Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act has already sailed through the House of Representatives and has the full support of President Trump. It has roughly 40 co-sponsors in the Senate where a showdown is shaping up between the gun lobby and law enforcement over states' rights and the second amendment.

This is the handgun counter at Van's Sporting Goods outside Jackson, Mississippi, a state with the fourth highest gun fatality rate in the country and some of the weakest gun laws.

Pretty much anyone 18 years of age and not a convicted felon can carry one of these concealed weapons here in their pocket, their pants or their purse for self-defense against muggers, carjackers and other assailants.

If the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act becomes law, they'll be able to carry them legally across state lines and onto the streets of any city in America.

Tim Schmidt: I think the aim of this bill is to simply allow responsibly armed Americans to-- to be able to travel and-- and-- and continue to defend their families.

Steve Kroft: And carry concealed firearms.

Tim Schmidt: And carry concealed firearms.

Steve Kroft: Anywhere?

Tim Schmidt: Yes. Yes.

Tim Schmidt: These laws change on a quarterly basis, if not more often. So you can easily go from being a responsibly armed citizen, who's 100 percent legal, to being a criminal just by crossing state lines.

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