It’s the moment we’ve all been waiting for — a comprehensive way to address legally carrying a concealed handgun across all fifty states. For decades, there has been no single piece of federal legislation that has stopped places like New Jersey and California from ignoring the rights of otherwise law-abiding citizens.
Otherwise law-abiding concealed carriers have gone to jail and faced exorbitant legal fees for simply crossing a state line. We covered one harrowing account here.
Now, there may be a solution to this problem.
Representative Richard Hudson (R-NC) proposed the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017 to the U.S. House of Representatives for the upcoming legislative session. At its core, Hudson has this to say about the need for national concealed carry reciprocity:
“Our Second Amendment right doesn’t disappear when we cross state lines, and this legislation guarantees that. The Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017 is a common sense solution to a problem too many Americans face. It will provide law-abiding citizens the right to conceal carry and travel freely between states without worrying about conflicting state codes or onerous civil suits,” Hudson released in a statement. “As a member of President-elect Trump’s Second Amendment Coalition, I look forward to working with my colleagues and the administration to get this legislation across the finish line.”
The full text of the proposed bill can be located here.
In short, it appears to say that so long as the individual state has a process to allow private citizens to carry a concealed firearm, no out-of-state person in possession of a firearm may be detained or prosecuted so long as he has some form of approved photo identification and a permit from his home state.
This doesn’t mean a concealed carrier wouldn’t still have to be meticulously aware of what places he is allowed to go with that handgun, but it does grant him immunity from prosecution or civil liability for carrying a concealed handgun into a state where he otherwise wouldn’t have reciprocity.
That’s a mouthful. But it’s a HUGE step in the right direction.
Unfortunately, it appears states can still regulate what constitutes a “gun free zone” and if the state somehow manages to revoke the process for a private citizen to get a concealed carry permit, that would exempt the state from acknowledging this federal act.
Still, given the current setup — it does present an opportunity for those of us who would like to travel freely across this great country without sacrificing our Second Amendment rights.
Here’s looking at YOU, California.
Now, there are some major hurdles to pass before this bill ever reaches the President’s desk. As rare as it is for me to eschew a political party, I’d have to say it’s extremely helpful that it’s a Republican sitting in the Oval Office. That’s still no guarantee. The House has yet to pass it. The Senate has yet to form a bill of its own. And all the tricky political nuances have yet to happen between when a bill gets passed and then signed into law.
That said, the National Rifle Association has come out in support of this bill. That’s a good group to having backing this sort of monumental legislative effort.
We’ll be following this one VERY closely throughout the coming year. Stay tuned!