Don’t Assume Same Sex Marriage Ruling Applies To RTC Reciprocity

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posted on July 8, 2015
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NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action is warning Right-to-Carry permit holders throughout the nation not to fall into a dangerous trap created by speculative reports concerning RTC reciprocity following the recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage.

On June 26, the Court ruled in Obergefell v. Hodges concerning whether same-sex marriage is a right protected by the U.S. Constitution. After that ruling, some bloggers and others in the gun-rights community declared a victory for Right-to-Carry permit holders and suggested that the ruling basically ensured national RTC reciprocity.

SCOTUS Ruling On Same-Sex Marriage Mandates Nationwide Concealed-Carry Reciprocity,” said the headline on one popular pro-gun website. A conservative news website featured this headline: “Same-Sex Ruling Sets Up National Reciprocity For Concealed Carry.”

But according to NRA-ILA, such speculation is a huge jump from the current reality and could cause serious problems for permit holders who embrace the idea.

“Unfortunately, the answer is not that simple,” said an NRA-ILA spokesman. “In particular, we strongly advise concealed-carry license holders not to assume Obergefell provides them with the legal basis they need to carry without an in-state license in strongly anti-gun states such as Maryland, New Jersey or New York. Doing so at this point would still subject the traveler to arrest and criminal prosecution.”

According to NRA-ILA, the question of whether the same-sex marriage decision has some application to national concealed-carry licensing reciprocity is a good one. If states that formerly did not sanction same-sex marriage now have to recognize all marriages from states that do, shouldn’t that also mean restrictive “may-issue” concealed-carry jurisdictions have to recognize concealed-carry licenses from less restrictive “shall-issue” jurisdictions? Some concluded that the answer is a resounding yes.

As ILA further points out, however, the U.S. Supreme Court has not yet ruled squarely on the question of whether the Second Amendment protects the right to carry a loaded handgun in public, and if it does, whether states must recognize each other’s permits. The landmark cases of Heller and McDonald only concerned the question of handgun possession in the home.

Also according to ILA, until the Supreme Court rules on the issue conclusively, certain reliably anti-gun jurisdictions can be counted on to exist in a state of denial and defiance. If states and lower courts can ignore a congressional statute like the Firearm Owners’ Protection Act—and they do—they certainly can ignore arguments that the philosophical bases for interstate recognition of same-sex marriage compel interstate recognition of concealed-carry permits.

We’ll continue to follow this situation and update our readers as more information becomes available.

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