Dem invokes Giffords shooting in argument against concealed weapons bill

"And yet the only person ever considered by this House would be the guy and his right to have that gun," Slaughter added. "What about the rights for the rest of us? Are we going to have to learn to dance up and down the streets to try to escape the bullets?"

Slaughter said Congress should be moving to make it harder for known felons or the mentally ill to buy guns, or allow for the computerization of gun sale records to make it easier for guns used in crimes to be traced.

ADVERTISEMENT
"We've done nothing at all to make sure that another nightmare like the one in Tucson doesn't visit our country yet again, leaving innocent children, men and women victims to a loaded gun," she said. "And yet the only person we care about here is the gun owner."

Other Democrats complained that House Republicans did not allow an amendment to be considered to the bill, H.R. 822, that would prevent known or suspected terrorists from carrying concealed firearms across state lines.

"Last night, Republicans in the Rules Committee blocked House consideration of amendments restricting the use of concealed weapons among sex offenders of children and terrorists," said Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.). "This is patently absurd. Are the supposed 'gun rights' of predators and terrorists more sacrosanct than the safety of children and law-abiding Americans?"

Still others argued that the bill is unnecessary. Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.) said his state, for example, already has 30 reciprocal concealed carry permit arrangements that make it easy for people carrying concealed weapons to move from state to state.

Republicans said the bill is a simple way to streamline state rules on concealed weapons, and does not relax any state rules or require anyone to carry a gun.

"This legislation simply gives peace of mind to Americans traveling across state lines with a legally registered concealed firearm knowing that they can practice their constitutional right to bear arms," Rep. Rich Nugent (R-Fla.) said.

"During my 38 years in law enforcement, I found that disarming honest citizens does nothing to reduce crime," he added. "If anything, all it does is keep law abiding citizens from being able to defend themselves from violent criminals."

Under the bill, people with a concealed carry permit in one state could carry in other states that allow concealed weapons and do not have specific rules about nonresidents carrying concealed weapons. Only Illinois and Washington, D.C., do not allow concealed weapons.

The House was expected on Tuesday to approve the rule governing debate on the bill, which will allow 10 amendments to be made in order. Final passage of the bill is expected later this week.