Many of us in the concealed carry community have been hoping for nationwide reciprocity, which would allow authorized handgun owners who are legally permitted in their home state to carry a concealed firearm in others states that also allow concealed carry. As it exists now, many states have different licensing requirements and do not honor the permits from other states. If you carry a firearm and are a frequent traveler, or just find yourself lost across state lines, the current system of laws could land you in jail.
Fortunately, there is a positive development in this direction, as the United States House of Representatives passed the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017 and it is awaiting passage in the U.S. Senate.
Here in Florida we have many seasonal residents who travel back and forth from northern states. We always recommend that our snowbirds stay current on state laws regarding concealed carry and reciprocity. Two good resources are the website Handgunlaws.us and the Traveler’s Guide to Firearm Laws available for purchase here at AthenasArmory.com. Even though we maintain that every firearm owner should be knowledgeable on current laws, it would be fantastic if an otherwise law-abiding citizen was not punished for crossing an imaginary state boundary with a firearm.
The bill was introduced by Representative Richard Hudson of North Carolina. According to Hudson’s website, the legislation will:
- Ensure that valid concealed carry permits issued in one state are valid for carrying concealed handguns in other states that recognize their own resident’s right to concealed carry;
- Allow those from constitutional carry states the ability to carry in other states that recognize their own resident’s right to concealed carry;
- Put the burden of proof clearly on the state to show that an individual carrying concealed did not comply with the law, thus protecting law-abiding gun owners from onerous civil suits;
- Provide legal protections against states that violate the intent of this bill, making attorney’s fees and damages available to victorious plaintiffs in civil suits, as well as to defendants who prevail in criminal cases; and
- Allow individuals who are carrying concealed to do so in the National Park System, National Wildlife Refuge System, and on lands administered by the Bureau of Land Management, Army Corps of Engineers and Bureau of Reclamation.
It’s no surprise that anti-gunners have come out in full force against H.R. 38. and most of what is reported and then repeated in the news is not exactly true. While there may be room for improvement in the language of the bill, essentially, it would only apply to those who have met the legal requirements for concealed carry in their own resident state. It has nothing to do with gun purchases or mental health issues and it would not allow anyone to carry a gun that is already federally prohibited from carrying a gun. This .PDF from Rep. Hudson’s website gives more detail on myths vs. facts on the bill.