HOUSE REPUBLICANS VOTED ON CONCEALED CARRY RECIPROCITY BILL

December 15, 2017

In a report form the Crime Prevention Research Center title “ Concealed Carry Permit Holders Across the United States: 2017”, it was revealed that more than 16.3 million concealed handgun permits exist in the U.S. today. That is an increase of $1.83 million or 11.2% from last year. Compared to a decade ago, the number of concealed handgun permits has more than tripled, as there were only 4.6 million concealed handgun permits in 2007.

Today, permitted concealed handguns are allowed in every jurisdiction in the United States, however, each state has it’s own concealed carry handgun laws. Fourteen states have adopted constitutional carry and no longer require a permit to carry in all or most of the state. Eight states have concealed carry handgun laws that carry extremely restrictive prohibitions as to where in the state a concealed carrier may not carry. Different state laws cause confusion for law-abiding gun owners, particularly when they carry across state lines, which puts them unfairly at risk of arrest or prosecution.

On December 6, 2017, the US House of Representatives voted to pass the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017. The Act still has to receive approval from the Senate and the joint conference committee, be voted on again by both the house and Senate and, if approved by both the house and Senate, signed into law by the President. Thus, while it has not been approved into law, it is a big step forward.

The law will not allow someone with a concealed carry permit from one state to carry in all 50 states. While many believe that was the original intent of the proposed law, which is not what this law will do. The actual text of the law states:

“a person who is not prohibited by Federal law from possessing, transporting, shipping, or receiving a firearm, who is carrying a valid identification document containing a photograph of the person, and who is carrying a valid license or permit which is issued pursuant to the law of a State and which permits the person to carry a concealed firearm or is entitled to carry a concealed firearm in the State in which the person resides, may possess or carry a concealed handgun (other than a machinegun or destructive device) … in any State”

At first glance, the proposed law appears to force every state to honor out-of-state concealed carry permits, making it easier for legal gun owners to travel across state lines. However, as is the case with most federal laws, the wording of the proposed law has created a few loopholes.

Loophole #1: “A person that has a valid photo id and lives in a state that permits a person to carry a concealed firearm is entitled to carry a concealed firearm in the State.”

There are at least 8 state governments that have been very vocal about their desire to restrict concealed handgun permits. California, New Jersey, New York, Maryland, Hawaii, Delaware, Massachusetts, and Connecticut could all decide to completely prohibit concealed carry in their respective states rather than allow every U.S. concealed carry permit holder to carry in their state.

Loophole #2: “This [law] shall not be construed to supersede or limit the laws of any State that—(1) permit private persons or entities to prohibit or restrict the possession of concealed firearms on their property; or (2) prohibit or restrict the possession of firearms on any State or local government property, installation, building, base, or park.”

Just as is the case currently, states that are not inclined do away with concealed carry permitting altogether but also do not want to grant concealed carry permit access to any concealed carrier in America, can tighten the prohibitions on areas where concealed carry weapons are allowed.

Loophole #3: The law say that a person must have a, “permit which is issued pursuant to the law of a State and which permits the person to carry a concealed firearm or is entitled to carry a concealed firearm in the State in which the person resides.”

Unless you have a concealed carry permit from your home states that allows you to carry in your home state, or your state has constitutional carry laws, it appears that this law would allow you to obtain a concealed carry permit from any state. Thus, if you have not yet applied for a concealed carry permit, and you live in a very restrictive concealed carry state, you could apply to receive a concealed carry permit from a less restrictive state.

Right now, we have a tangled web of different rules and regulations among states regarding concealed carry permits. The whole idea of “reciprocity” was to simplify the situation so that gun owners with a concealed carry permit would know they could continue to carry their gun no matter what state they were in without violating any laws. Given the currently worded proposed new Concealed Carry Reciprocity law, it does not look like we will see that happen.