National Reciprocity Has a Real Chance

U.S. Senator John Cornyn (R-TX).

 

On Monday, U.S. Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) introduced the Constitutional Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act, legislation to allow individuals with concealed carry privileges in their home state to exercise those rights in any other state that also has concealed carry laws, while abiding by that state’s laws.

“This bill strengthens both the constitutional right of law-abiding citizens to protect themselves and the power of states to implement laws best-suited for the folks who live there,” Sen. Cornyn said. “This legislation is an important affirmation of our Second Amendment rights and has been a top priority of law-abiding gun owners in Texas for a long time.”

Cornyn’s present bill comes just over one month after North Carolina Republican Rep. Richard Hudson announced a concealed carry reciprocity bill in the House, and both bills are expected to be a companion to the other. Cornyn’s bill is formally styled as S. 446, The Constitutional Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017.

“The Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017 is a common sense bill to provide law-abiding citizens the right to conceal carry and travel freely between states without worrying about conflicting state codes or onerous civil suits,” Cornyn said.

“The current patchwork of state and local gun laws can confuse even the most conscientious and law-abiding gun owner,” said Michele Byington, an Independent Program Attorney for Texas & U.S. Law Shield in Houston. “Senator Cornyn’s legislation solves a real problem for gun owners.”

Byington said, “S. 446 would eliminate the confusing patchwork of state carry laws by allowing individuals who possess concealed carry permits from their home state or who are not prohibited from carrying concealed in their home state to exercise those rights in any other state that does not prohibit concealed carry.”

However, she added, “This legislation would not override state laws governing the time, place or manner of carriage or establish national standards for concealed carry.”

She said, “Individual state gun laws would still be respected. If a person is prohibited from carrying a firearm under federal law, they will continue to be prohibited from doing so under this bill.”

Every state recognizes the right of residents to lawfully carry a concealed handgun in public for self-defense. More than 15 million Americans currently exercise that right.

Byington added, “National reciprocity is already a reality in the 22 states that recognize all other concealed carry licenses or allow law-abiding non-residents to carry a firearm without a license. Only ten states still refuse to grant full faith and credit to the permits of other states.”

Byington cautioned members, however, that the bill makes each person subject to the concealed-carry laws of the state where they are present, including certain places off-limits to firearms and laws governing the defensive use of force.

In essence, she said, “The bill merely allows out-of-state permittees to concealed carry the same way in-state residents already do. If national reciprocity passes, we would urge Members to call our non-emergency line if they plan to carry into another state, so we can brief them on what to expect.”

The bill was cosponsored by U.S. Sens. John Barasso (R-WY), Roy Blunt (R-MO), John Boozman (R-AR), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Thad Cochran (R-MS), Mike Crapo (R-ID), Ted Cruz (R-TX), Steve Daines (R-MT), Mike Enzi (R-WY), Joni Ernst (R-IA), Deb Fischer (R-NE), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Dean Heller (R-NV), John Hoeven (R-ND), Johnny Isakson (R-GA), Ron Johnson (R-WI), John McCain (R-AZ), Jerry Moran (R-KS), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), David Perdue (R-GA), Rob Portman (R-OH), Pat Roberts (R-KS), Mike Rounds (R-SD), Marco Rubio (R-FL), John Thune (R-SD), Roger Wicker (R-MS) and Todd Young (R-IN). — Texas & U.S. Law Shield Staff