Time to Pass National Reciprocity

September 19th, 2017

By: Tim Schmidt

With Congress back in full swing after the summer recess, efforts to pass national concealed carry reciprocity legislation should be bolstered by a new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll showing that 48% of American households how own a firearm.

This new figure is three points higher than when the same question was polled just last year, and nine points higher than in 2011. These new poll numbers are concrete evidence that more Americans are taking responsibility for their personal safety than ever before, and puts to rest the myth that gun ownership is on the decline.

With gun ownership certainly on the rise, we can expect to see more Americans applying for concealed carry permits. Rules for obtaining a permit vary from state to state, but usually consist of some combination of time on the shooting range with an instructor, classes, tests, and paperwork. Inconsistent requirements mean that concealed carry permits aren’t recognized from state to state, and reciprocity between states exists but varies greatly.  This patchwork of laws means that in many cases, permit holders aren’t able to travel across state lines without being afoul of the law. In states with anti-Second Amendment policies on the books, authorities will sometimes go above and beyond to prosecute legal gun owners over an out-of-state concealed carry permit, just to make a point. Not only is this unnecessary, but it is unfair targeting of a law abiding citizen committing a victimless “crime.”

Concealed carry permit holders have demonstrated their willingness to comply with the law by legally obtaining the required documentation from their state. Clearly, national reciprocity is needed to bring consistency and clarity to a fraught system that in some cases criminalize responsible gun ownership and hurts law-abiding citizens.

The National Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017 was introduced by U.S. Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) and U.S. Representative Richard Hudson (R-NC), to create uniform recognition of concealed carry permits. With American gun ownership increasing, this legislation is more relevant than ever, because our Second Amendment rights should not extend only as far as our respective state’s borders. This legislation protects the law-abiding citizens who simply want to be able to protect themselves – whether they are traveling, recently moved, or live near a state line. Each state will still be able to decide their own standards, allowing them to retain the right to decide what works best for the people in their state.

The terrifying shooting of a Member of Congress and others in Alexandria, Virginia in June of this year highlights the urgent need for reciprocity. To practice for the annual Congressional Baseball Game for Charity, Members traveled to an athletic field in Virginia from the District of Columbia, two places that have very different gun laws. The District is notoriously restrictive, where applicants must prove “good reason” for obtaining a permit, with Virginia being firmly pro-Second Amendment. Even if they had a concealed carry permit from their home state, Members of Congress would not have been able to legally able to have their firearm with them. Concealed carry reciprocity would have allowed armed Members to protect themselves. Thanks to the presence of Majority Whip Steve Scalise’s Capitol Police detail, there was no loss of life. But the facts are clear that only thing that stopped a bad guy with a gun were two good, brave people with guns.

Year after year, statistics show that concealed carry permit holders commit fewer crimes than the general population of America. Gun control advocates unfairly stigmatize gun ownership, but in reality, Americans and their communities are safer because of the citizens who are ready to defend themselves – a deterrent to criminals everywhere. As more and more Americans make a commitment to their personal safety, legal gun ownership will continue to rise, and so will the number of Americans applying for concealed carry permits.

National reciprocity for concealed carry permits will protect and encourage responsible gun ownership, and allow gun owners to exercise their Second Amendment rights wherever they go in this great country.

Tim Schmidt is the president and founder of the U.S. Concealed Carry Association, and may be contacted at Press@USCCA.com.

About the USCCA: 

The U.S. Concealed Carry Association (USCCA) provides self-defense education, training and legal protection to responsible American gun owners. Headquartered in West Bend, WI, the USCCA is the largest and fastest-growing association whose sole focus is the responsibly armed American.

###

Related resource: