Feb 17 2015

BREAKING: National Concealed Carry Reciprocity?

national concealed carry reciprocity

Hold the presses – a bill to allow national concealed carry reciprocity has been introduced in Congress by Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn. S. 498 is currently sitting with the Senate Committee on the Judiciary, but the bill is not alone! Another three concealed carry reciprocity bills have been introduced – H.R. 923, which was introduced on the same day, H.R. 986, introduced the day after, and H.R. 402, which was introduced mid-January. H.R. 986 has 78 co-sponsors and H.R. 402 has 68, which could bode well if any of the bills are approved by the Committee.

Now, it is true that reciprocity bills have been introduced in the past and failed. However, the same bill failed by only three votes in 2013. Sponsors of the bills are more optimistic this time around due to bipartisan support and a GOP majority. Cornyn told reporters that several Democrats are already in support of concealed carry reciprocity. Of further note is that one of the co-sponsors – Sen. Chuck Grassley – is also a member of the Committee.

If you are a gun owner in a not-so-freedom-loving state, you know very well the woes of state gun laws and their lack of reciprocity on a national level. New England can be particularly difficult to navigate as all states except Vermont have separate laws and do not honor permits or licenses from neighboring states. There have been countless incidents in which gun owners – local or visiting – have found themselves on the wrong side of the law simply for crossing state lines. In my own safety class – a requirement of MA licensing – I was told that if I went on vacation, I either had to leave my pistol at home or call the state police of every state I planned to drive through and let them know I was coming. Nothing like making a law-abiding citizen feel like a criminal.

Some opponents of concealed carry reciprocity may argue that such a bill is a violation of states’ rights – but fail to remember that every license requires federal approval for issuance.

Of course, asking the government for freedom is typically not a way to actually garner any freedom. Rights don’t come from government and self-defense is a right everyone possesses simply by being human. But it is a rough climate for gun owners, increasingly so for blue-state residents since Sandy Hook and Aurora. National concealed carry reciprocity would make being a gun owner a little less likely to end in a prison sentence. If a MA driver’s license is valid in all other states, why isn’t a concealed carry license? It’s a good question, and one that the sponsors of these bills are asking. There are already some states that hold reciprocity, and a license from Utah or Florida will allow you to carry in most states. However, no state at this time holds full, national concealed carry reciprocity.

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