Rep. Ken Buck Gets Smart on Guns? Fat Chance

Rep. Ken Buck (R).

If you don’t read past the headline of the stories about passage yesterday in the U.S. House of legislation to force states to honor concealed carry permits from states with weaker standards, you might think that Rep. Ken Buck, arguably the state’s hardest-right member of Congress, had suddenly gone soft on the issue of guns:

The U.S. House of Representatives voted 231-198 Wednesday to pass a bill that would allow people with concealed carry permits to carry their weapons into other states where concealed weapons are allowed—though Republican Rep. Ken Buck voted against the measure.

Buck, who cosponsored the bill in January that changed before Wednesday’s vote, was one of 14 Republicans who voted against the measure, the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017. He was targeted in NRA emails earlier this week urging constituents to call him and tell him to “listen to his constituents and vote for H.R. 38.”

But before you offer a surprised “attaboy” to Rep. Buck, keep reading:

“I strongly supported the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act, but could not vote for it in this combined bill,” Buck said in a statement to Denver7 following the vote. “I have concerns that the NICS portion of the legislation places Americans at risk for having their Second Amendment rights stripped without due process.”

Tacked onto the original bill are extra background check measures that would strengthen the FBI’s database of who is not allowed to buy a gun. Democrats criticized Republicans for lumping the measure in with the concealed carry legislation, saying the background check measures should stand alone. The background check measures come in response to Air Force lapses that allowed a man to shoot and kill more than two dozen people at a Texas church.

The recent mass shooting in Sutherland Springs, Texas that killed 26 people was committed by a man who by all accounts shouldn’t have been able to legally purchase a gun. A conviction for domestic violence while the shooter served in the Air Force wasn’t properly reported to the national database used to approve firearm purchases. As Denver7 correctly reports, that lapse prompted bipartisan consensus that a law to improve collection of this information is needed–drawing a clear line from an horrific mass shooting to a policy change that might have prevented it.

It was Republicans who had the bright idea to stack the bipartisan consensus for fixing background checks on to a far less unanimously-supported bill to enact “concealed carry reciprocity.” This is legislation that would significantly weaken the ability of states to regulate the carrying of guns by forcing them to honor concealed carry permits from states that have inferior (or even no) requirements for a concealed carry permit. Lumping these two provisions together made for a contradictory piece of legislation that Democrats simply couldn’t support.

But for Ken Buck, it was the opposite: strengthening background checks, which most everyone else had agreed on, was too much even to get CCP reciprocity. That puts Buck even farther out of the mainstream than his colleagues who supported the “compromise.”

So no, Rep. Buck, no applause for you. From either side.

11 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. allyncooper says:

    This story needs a clarification

    This is legislation that would significantly weaken the ability of states to regulate the carrying of guns by forcing them to honor concealed carry permits from states that have inferior (or even no) requirements for a concealed carry permit.

    If a person lives in a state with no requirements for concealed carry and do not have a permit they would not be allowed to carry in another state.

    Example:  Wyoming does not require a concealed weapons permit to a resident who is at least 21 years old and under state and federal law is legally allowed to own or possess a handgun.  Wyoming does issue concealed weapons permits to residents which are valid in other states which  have reciprocity with Wyoming.

    Colorado currently has reciprocity agreements with 33 other states, Wyoming being one of them. But a Wyoming resident would have to have a permit from Wyoming to carry in Colorado even though they would not need a permit if they carried solely within Wyoming.


    • JeffcoBlueJeffcoBlue says:

      That may be the status quo, but that's not what Everytown says about this bill:

      “Concealed Carry Reciprocity” (CCR)—S.446 and H.R. 38—is a chaotic and dangerous policy that would gut every state’s gun laws and make our communities less safe. Right now, every state sets its own rules for who can carry a hidden, loaded handgun in public. There is no national standard for who can carry hidden, loaded handguns in public, and rather than create a uniform standard, CCR would effectively turn the weakest state’s laws into nationwide laws.

      Under CCR, Washington politicians and the gun lobby would override state gun laws to force each state to recognize the concealed carry standards of every other state, including those states that have dramatically weaker standards, or no standards at all. For instance, 19 states allow a person to carry a concealed gun in public with no gun safety training, and 12 states do not even require a permit or background check for people to carry in public. So, CCR would legally force every state to allow people to carry hidden, loaded guns, even if they’ve never passed a background check or had gun safety training.

    • JeffcoBlueJeffcoBlue says:

      Also, are there additional standards required by Wyoming for their permit now or do they give them to anyone who can legally own a gun in Wyoming? That's the point.

    • doremi says:

      Sorry Allyncooper,

      If you read the language of the bill H.R. 38, you will see that it allows those people from states that are "permitless" to also carry into any other state.

      Generally, the standards for permitless CCW, which the pro-gun rights crowd has tried to pass  (and been blocked) in Colorado for 8 years, are that each person decides if they are law-abiding (i.e., not prohibited to possess a handgun).



  2. ModeratusModeratus says:

    Background checks will never stop a criminal who wants to get their hands on a gun. Criminals don't follow the law no matter how much you "improve" the laws!

    • doremi says:


      So, by that logic….everyone everywhere should be able to get a gun.  Felons, domestic violence offenders, toddlers, ANYONE.

      If this country ever becomes that way…it’s time to leave.


      • RepealAndReplace says:

        Not only that, but……

        There are laws which make it a crime to commit first degree murder (e.g., C.R.S. 18-3-102) yet people still do it.

        Using Moderatus' logic (an oxymoron, if ever), perhaps we should repeals those since they do not stop anyway….

    • Diogenesdemar says:

      The Lori Saines of this world do pose a challenge . . .

  3. allyncooper says:

    doremi and JeffcoBlue:

    No correction is needed from my original post.  Your contention that the bill allows non-permit holders to carry anywhere may hold water with certain special interest groups with an obvious agenda, but in fact has no basis in law, i.e. the proposed legislation. Here is the exact wording of HR 38.

    Ҥ 926D. Reciprocity for the carrying of certain concealed firearms

    “(a) Notwithstanding any provision of the law of any State or political subdivision thereof (except as provided in subsection (b)) and subject only to the requirements of this section, a person who is not prohibited by Federal law from possessing, transporting, shipping, or receiving a firearm, who is carrying a valid identification document containing a photograph of the person, and who is carrying a valid license or permit which is issued pursuant to the law of a State and which permits the person to carry a concealed firearm or is entitled to carry a concealed firearm in the State in which the person resides, may possess or carry a concealed handgun (other than a machinegun or destructive device) that has been shipped or transported in interstate or foreign commerce, in any State that—

    “(1) has a statute under which residents of the State may apply for a license or permit to carry a concealed firearm; or

    “(2) does not prohibit the carrying of concealed firearms by residents of the State for lawful purposes.

    The pertinent elements here are:

    1. The person is carrying a valid photo ID

    2. AND the person is carrying a valid license or permit to carry

    3. AND that State permits the person to carry in that person's State.

    Words have meaning in law. The legal definition of the word AND is inclusive, as "in addition to".  The word AND in the proposed statue unambiguously requires that a person must have a valid permit from a State. All these elements are inclusive and must be present.

    As I read the statue as worded, if you do not have a valid permit from any State, you cannot legally carry in any state, with the exception of your State of residence if they do not require a permit to carry within the boundaries of that State. I am quite confident any Federal District Court would rule that all elements as stated have to be satisfied for the statue to have effect. 

    Obviously there are groups like this Everytown (never heard of them before) quoted by Jeffco Blue who have their own agenda and promote misinformation to advance their agenda.

    So, CCR would legally force every state to allow people to carry hidden, loaded guns, even if they’ve never passed a background check or had gun safety training.    Everytown

    The statement is false. To own or possess a handgun in any state you must have passed a federally mandated background check.

    If HR 38 "forced" states to allow carrying by anyone without a permit I would oppose it.  But clearly it does not. Its also clear this misinformation is put out there, and accepted by, those who have parochial agendas.

    That being said, I would prefer amending the bill to include minimum standards for state issuance of permits that would require a background check at time of application and a firearm safety course in order for those qualified permits to be valid in other states.



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