With Republicans in control of Congress and Donald Trump in the White House, we might see a law establishing National Concealed Carry Reciprocity in the next few years.
Representative Richard Hudson (R-NC) introduced the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2015 (H.R. 986) in Congress a couple of years ago. While it did gather 216 co-sponsors, the bill ultimately didn’t end up going anywhere, probably because the Republicans knew they didn’t have the votes to override an almost certain veto from President Obama.
However, with the election of Donald Trump as President of the United States, there is growing hope among gun rights activists that Congress will pass legislation establishing national concealed carry reciprocity at some point in the next couple of years.
Hudson says he’ll introduce the bill again as the National Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017 soon after the new session of Congress begins. According to the details of the potential new bill, a person with a valid concealed carry license could carry a concealed handgun in any other state that permits concealed carry.
This would not apply to people prohibited from possessing a firearm under federal law and specifically excludes machine guns and destructive devices. Additionally, the person carrying a concealed handgun must follow all the laws and firearm regulations in the state where they are carrying a firearm.
For example, the proposed national concealed carry reciprocity law would enable a person from Texas with a Texas concealed carry permit to legally carry a concealed handgun in New York as long as that person followed all New York laws regarding the carrying of firearms.
According to Representative Hudson:
Our Second Amendment right doesn’t disappear when we cross state lines, and I plan to introduce legislation in the first days of the 115th Congress to guarantee that. 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. As a member of President-elect Trump’s Second Amendment Coalition, I look forward to working with the administration to advance policies that support and protect our right to keep and bear arms.
Seems simple enough, right? After all, states honor driver’s licenses and marriage licenses issued by other states. This law would put concealed carry permits in the same category.
Here’s where things get really interesting though: say you’re a person with a valid concealed carry permit traveling through a state known for harassing law abiding gun owners (like New Jersey). Assuming you were behaving in accordance with the laws of the state you’re in, this bill would expressly prohibit the state from arresting you for simply carrying a concealed handgun.
It also specifically states that gun owners unlawfully arrested by states who successfully defend themselves in court under the National Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017 are entitled to repayment of their legal fees by the state that arrested them.
So, what sort of odds does the National Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017 have of becoming a law? It’s tough to say. On its face, the bill seems to have a good amount of support in the House of Representatives and it seems likely that President Trump would sign it into law if it reaches his desk.
However, there is a good chance that anti-gun groups will fight tooth and nail against passage of the bill. So, count on Democrats in the Senate putting up a strong fight against it. At this point, it’s unclear how much political will that the Republicans in the Senate have for pushing it through, especially with everything else that will be on their plate in 2017.
Stay tuned for more updates on what ends up happening with the National Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017.