Throughout the United States, the laws surrounding concealed carry permits that people obtain to protect themselves vary considerably.
States can pick and choose which other states’ permits they will honor. A scattered patchwork of laws with limited reciprocity has been cobbled together over the years to apply to those who wish to carry a firearm.
For example, someone who holds a permit in Texas may not have identical rights when traveling to Illinois.
It’s not just more government red tape, but it can also place law-abiding people in serious legal liability simply for exercising their Second Amendment rights.
Well-meaning people can break the law without knowing it, causing confusion and a waste of government resources. Their only crime is not knowing the regulations of the state they’re in.
To address this problem and strengthen our nation’s Second Amendment protections, U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, has introduced The Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017.
This legislation will allow concealed carry permit holders to keep their personal firearm with them, even if they are outside the state that issued their permit, so long as the state they are traveling to also allows concealed carry permits for legal gun owners.
Eight states allow concealed carry but do not recognize any out-of-state permits.
The heart of Cornyn’s long overdue legislation is for law-abiding people to have their Second Amendment rights nationally recognized.
Legal gun owners will no longer be caught up in nuances of inconsistent laws if traveling outside their home state.
The bill still requires gun owners to be subject to the laws of whatever state they are in, but it would honor the validity of concealed carry permits from any state.
There are some states, such as New Hampshire, that have passed “constitutional carry” legislation, which abolishes the need for a permit.
North Carolina U.S. Rep. Richard Hudson has introduced legislation similar to Cornyn’s in the House of Representatives.
Legal gun owners jump through enough government hurdles just to acquire permits for concealed carry.
Bureaucracy should not prevent them from doing something that is perfectly legal in their home state and for which they have undergone required training and certification.
Cornyn has proposed that concealed carry permits should work much like driver’s licenses.
“When you go from Texas to New Jersey, you can use that same driver’s license — subject to that state’s laws,” Cornyn said in an interview with the Daily Caller.
It is common sense that concealed carry permits should also have nationwide reciprocity throughout the United States.
For three days beginning Friday, roughly 7,000 people from across the country will be in Fort Worth to attend the annual USCCA Concealed Carry Expo.
Federal concealed carry reciprocity legislation will be a hot topic of conversation at the expo.
It is a positive step toward more unified, straightforward public policy regarding firearms.
On behalf of the USCCA and its more than 200,000 members, we thank Cornyn and Hudson for their leadership and thank the city of Fort Worth for hosting our annual expo in support of the Second Amendment.
Tim Schmidt is the president and founder of the U.S. Concealed Carry Association.