January 05, 2021
NSSF, the firearm industry's trade association, hailed U.S. Rep. Richard Hudson's (R-N.C.) introduction of the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2021, H.R. 38, on the first day of the 117th Congress.
The legislation was introduced with bipartisan support and 154 original co-sponsors, demonstrating the wide-ranging support for protecting law-abiding concealed carry permit holders from navigating a patchwork of varying gun-control laws when crossing a state line.
The bill aims to eliminate the confusion of varying state-by-state laws and provide protection for Second Amendment rights for permit holders. The legislation would allow handgun owners who are legally permitted and authorized by their home state to carry a concealed firearm in other states while complying with the laws of each state – much in the same way a driver's license is recognized.
"This legislation provides an answer to the confusing patchwork of laws surrounding concealed carry permits, particularly with regard to states where laws make unwitting criminals out of legal permit holders for a simple mistake of a wrong traffic turn," said Lawrence Keane, NSSF Senior Vice President and General Counsel. "It safeguards a state's right to determine their own laws while protecting the Second Amendment rights of all Americans. We thank Rep. Hudson for his leadership on behalf of America’s hunters and recreational shooters."
"Our Second Amendment rights do not disappear when we cross state lines, and H.R. 38 guarantees that," said Rep. Hudson. "The Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2021 is a common sense solution 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. I am especially proud to have such widespread and bipartisan support for this measure and will work with my colleagues to get this legislation over the finish line."
Unlike other rights protected by the U.S. Constitution, the right to keep and bear arms is regulated differently by individual states. While individual rights to speech, religion and protections of Due Process or Search and Seizure are constant, gun rights vary according to the state. Reciprocity agreements exist, but not between all states and are ever-changing. That puts individuals at risk of running afoul of varying state-by-state laws when traveling and crossing borders.
The pitfalls of these varying state-by-state laws were exposed when Philadelphia resident Shaneen Allen faced up to five years in prison for bringing a firearm into New Jersey in 2013. She held a valid license to carry in Pennsylvania, but not in neighboring New Jersey. The mother of two voluntarily told a law enforcement officer of the firearm during a traffic stop, but was still arrested, charged, convicted and spent 48 days in jail – all for having made a wrong turn and accidentally crossing state line. Fortunately, after an 18-month legal ordeal, Republican Gov. Chris Christie pardoned Allen. Others are not so lucky.
NSSF is the trade association for the firearm industry. Its mission is to promote, protect and preserve hunting and the shooting sports. Formed in 1961, NSSF has a membership of thousands of manufacturers, distributors, firearms retailers, shooting ranges, sportsmen's organizations and publishers nationwide. For more information, log on to www.nssf.org.