This is a guest post written by Dieter Heren, founder of Saltwater & Gunpowder.
He can also be found on Facebook and Twitter.
Every gun owner in America who has a concealed carry permit is familiar with the legal intricacies of attempting to travel with their firearm. I’m pretty sure at this point we are all qualified paralegals. Dealing with travel usually involves finding an online source with a rainbow colored state map that helps you determine whether a state honors your state’s permit, if it honors the permit only if you’re a resident of the issuing state, or if it’s not honored. And good luck if you plan on taking a legitimate road trip with stops in a few states. Luckily, there is a way around much of this state by state nonsense in obtaining several permits from a few of the more reasonable states, however, this takes time and a decent amount of money.
Recently, Congress has started to realize the ridiculousness of all this. Two bills in 2013 and one in 2014 have been introduced in an attempt to create a national reciprocity law. The most recent bill is a rather straightforward, one page bill that essentially allows anyone with a permit to carry in any state as if their permit was from the state.
So for example, if you currently hold a concealed carry permit from the state of New York, you are pretty restricted as to what other states will honor your permit. Under current laws, if you were to take your family on a nice vacation to sunny Florida in an attempt to escape the cold, you better leave your gun at home.
If the 2014 bill, the aptly named Constitutional Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2014, were to pass, this would allow you, the New York permit holder, to carry your gun in Florida under the laws of Florida. Essentially, any permit would be a national permit, you would just have to follow the laws of whatever state you find yourself in.
Current example of states that you may carry in (blue) if you have a NY permit and FL non-resident permit
Most of these types of bills cause problems for residents of states with constitutional carry, however, this bill appears to be worded in such a manner that they would not be excluded from the benefits of this. You can find out more about this bill here.
It seems like this is an issue that has come to the attention of Congress and may be something that we see pushed through in the next few years, in one variation or another. However, is this something that we as gun owners should actually want? After all, the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry. I don’t need to tell you the benefits of being able to carry a firearm, but let’s look at some of the potential positives and negatives of a bill that would make all states recognize every other states permits.
The first big negative is that it could take power away from the states in determining their own permit requirements. When the federal government gets involved, things typically get even more complicated. A bill like this could force states into revamping their processes, spending millions of dollars and becoming backlogged.
Another big potential issue is that depending on the wording and any amendments that get stuck into a bill like this, it could actually restrict the rights of gun owners. I don’t want to speculate too much here but the anti-gunners will use anything they can in order to restrict our rights. It’s certainly not unfeasible to think that something could be snuck into the bill that restricts rights in the more lenient states.