The country’s largest Second Amendment member group and the trade organization for the firearms industry on Wednesday strongly endorsed a newly introduced concealed carry reciprocity measure.
The National Rifle Association and National Shooting Sports Foundation both welcomed a proposal introduced by U.S. Rep. Richard Hudson, R-NC, and 68 bipartisan co-sponsors this week on the first day of session in the new Congress. The groups contend Hudson’s legislation, H.R. 38, provides a much-needed solution to a real problem for law-abiding gun owners.
“The current patchwork of state and local laws is confusing for even the most conscientious and well-informed concealed carry permit holders,” said Chris W. Cox, executive director of the NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action. “This confusion often leads to law-abiding gun owners running afoul of the law when they exercise their right to self-protection while traveling or temporarily living away from home.”
With the numbers of concealed carry permits ballooning in recent years and all states ostensibly having a framework to allow for such licensing, the prospect of treating concealed carry permits like driver’s licenses — allowing current permit holders to carry in any other state that issues permits — has been something of a holy grail for gun rights advocates.
Legislation has been steadily introduced by GOP lawmakers on Capitol Hill in the past three Congresses but has failed to gain traction. Now, with a new administration in the White House, who has voiced support of the concept, nationwide reciprocity seems obtainable.
As pointed out by the NSSF, Hudson’s proposal not only provides interstate recognition of carry permits but will also expand carry across federal lands such as those administered by the Bureau of Land Management, Army Corps of Engineers and Bureau of Reclamation.
“It safeguards a state’s right to determine their own laws while protecting the Second Amendment rights of all Americans,” said Lawrence Keane, NSSF senior vice president and general counsel.
Gun control groups have so far been mum on the new legislation, though they have traditionally panned such efforts to bring federal mandates to state permits. Everytown argued doing so would be a “race to the bottom” that could violate states’ rights by authorizing a visitor to carry a gun even if the permit holder didn’t meet the criteria to possess a firearm under the laws of the state they were visiting.
H.R. 38 has been referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary.