Victory for the Second Amendment: House Passes Concealed Carry Bill

Posted: Nov 17, 2011 7:11 AM

In a victory for the Second Amendment, the House of Representatives passed the National Right-to-Carry Reciprocity Act last night, giving gun owners with a concealed weapons permit holders the ability to travel across state lines more easily.

The bill would allow individuals with valid state-issued concealed firearm permits or licenses to carry a concealed firearm in any other state that also issues concealed firearm permits or licenses, or in any other state that does not generally prohibit the carrying of concealed firearms.

H.R. 822 would require the Comptroller General of the U.S. to conduct an audit of the laws and regulations of each state that authorizes the issuance of a valid permit or license to permit a nonresident to possess or carry a concealed firearm.  The audit would include a description of the permitting or licensing requirements of each state that issues concealed carry permits or licenses to persons other than the residents of that state.  The audit would also include the number of valid permits and licenses issued or denied (and the basis for the denial) by each state, and the effectiveness of state laws and regulations in protecting public safety.

The bill passed in a bipartisan fashion with 43 Democrats supporting it. The final vote count was 272-154. Seven Republicans voted against it. 

Under the House legislation, people with a concealed carry permit in one state could carry a concealed weapon in every other state that gives people the right to carry concealed weapons. While states have various standards for issuing such permits, currently only Illinois and the District of Columbia prohibit the concealed carrying of weapons.

"The Second Amendment is a fundamental right to bear arms that should not be constrained by state boundary lines," said GOP Rep. Lamar Smith of Texas, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee.

The bill's chief co-sponsor, Rep. Cliff Stearns, R-Fla., said states should consider concealed carry permits no differently from driver's licenses recognized by all states. He noted that many states already have reciprocity agreements with other states.

The legislation would "make it easier for law-abiding permit holders to know that they are simply in compliance with the law when they carry a firearm as they travel," he said.

Cam Edwards from NRA News discussed the bill on his show a few weeks ago: