The Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act is currently making its way through the House. It is expected to be voted out of Committee and onto the House floor. If passed, which would also require 60 votes in the Senate, the legislation will allow individuals to travel across state lines with their lawfully issued permits.
"This bill amends the federal criminal code to allow a qualified individual to carry a concealed handgun into or possess a concealed handgun in another state that allows individuals to carry concealed firearms," a summary of the bill states. "A qualified individual must: (1) be eligible to possess, transport, or receive a firearm under federal law; (2) carry a valid photo identification document; and (3) carry a valid concealed carry permit issued by, or be eligible to carry a concealed firearm in, his or her state of residence."
"Additionally, the bill specifies that a qualified individual who lawfully carries or possesses a concealed handgun in another state: (1) is not subject to the federal prohibition on possessing a firearm in a school zone, and (2) may carry or possess the concealed handgun in federally owned lands that are open to the public," the summary continues.
The bill would prevent lawful citizens from being unfairly targeted by harsh gun laws in a number of states or inadvertently violating a patch work of different laws across the country as they travel.
Late last week, 23 state Attorneys General signed and sent a letterto congressional leaders backing the legislation. Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley led the effort with Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, North Dakota, Ohio, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming all on board.
"As the chief legal officers of our States, we, the undersigned 23 state Attorneys General, write in support of the Constitutional Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017 (S. 446) and the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017
(H.R. 38). We share a strong interest in the protection of our citizens’ Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms, and we are committed to supporting federal and state policies to preserve that constitutional right. These bills, if enacted, would eliminate significant obstacles to the exercise of the right to keep and bear arms for millions of Americans in every State," the letter states.
"The core interest protected by this right is self-defense by law-abiding citizens. This right therefore extends to weapons “in common use” and “typically possessed by law-abiding citizens for lawful purposes.” Heller, 554 U.S. at 624–25, 627 (quoting United States v. Miller, 307 U.S. 174, 179 (1939))," the lettercontinues.
The National Rifle Association is applauding the move.
"America’s highest-ranking law enforcement officers understand that law-abiding citizens should be able to exercise their fundamental right to self-defense while traveling across state lines without fear of unknowingly breaking the law. The NRA applauds these attorneys general for supporting this important legislation,” NRA-ILA President Chris Cox said in a statement.
"The letter states that H.R. 38 is a much-needed solution to a problem facing gun owners and poses no threat to public safety. “The exercise of Congress’s power is particularly warranted in this case because too many states refuse to allow law-abiding visitors to carry concealed firearms," Cox continued. "These states leave people without any real option for self-defense. Allowing concealed carry across state lines will not result in an increased risk of crime, as those states that have reciprocal concealed-carry agreements have not encountered any significant safety issues.”
The Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act is expected to see a full floor vote this week.