National Reciprocity: If Not Now, When?

posted on June 23, 2017

On June 14, an attacker with leftist affiliations opened fire on Republican congressional members, some of whom afterward expressed that they wished they had been armed when the shooting started.

In fact, one Congressman who was not present—Rep. Chris Collins, R-N.Y.—indicated that images of the attack and reports of colleagues who were wounded have convinced him to carry a gun on his person going forward. He told WKBW, “If you look at the vulnerability, I assure you: I have a carry permit. I will be carrying when I’m out and about.” He continued: “On a rare occasion, I’d have my gun in a glove box or something, but it’s going to be in my pocket from this day forward.”

While we must applaud Collins’ determination to take steps to have the tools at hand necessary to defend his life, his comments also force us to confront a larger problem in our nation—a problem that weakens the defensive posture not only of congressmen with concealed permits, but everyday citizens too. This larger problem is the patchwork of concealed-carry laws that allow a concealed-carry permit holder in Texas to carry in Arizona, but criminalizes carrying in California.

This has long been a point of frustration for law-abiding citizens, and the Alexandria attack only exacerbated it.Such laws allow a permit holder to carry his gun for self-defense in Indiana, but criminalize carrying in Illinois.

How can it even be possible that a citizen is considered law-abiding when exercising his Second Amendment rights in one state, but is guilty of a crime for exercising them in another?

This has long been a point of frustration for law-abiding citizens, and the Alexandria attack only exacerbated it.

But there is a solution. On Jan. 3, 2017, Rep. Richard Hudson, R-N.C., put forward a measure calling for national reciprocity for concealed-carry permits. Hudson’s bill would make the concealed-carry permit of one state valid in the other 49 states. Moreover, it would recognize the right of residents from permitless carry states to carry in every state, granted they had proof of residency from a permitless carry state.

Hudson’s reciprocity bill states:

Notwithstanding any provision of the law of any State or political subdivision thereof (except as provided in subsection (b) and subject only to the requirements of this section, 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) that has been shipped or transported in interstate or foreign commerce, in any State that— ‘‘(1) has a statute under which residents of the State may apply for a license or permit to carry a concealed firearm; or ‘‘(2) does not prohibit the carrying of concealed firearms by residents of the State for lawful purposes.

Never forget that gun-free zones are the go-to targets for high-profile shooters.In a post-Alexandria attack world, how can Congress not rally behind such a bill?

The “vulnerability” referenced by Rep. Collins is greatly diminished when law-abiding citizens are allowed to keep guns with them for self-defense in more places.

Never forget that gun-free zones are the go-to targets for high-profile shooters. Some of these zones are designated and announced by anti-gun business owners, while others are in place because of federal or state laws—some of which prohibit law-abiding teachers from being armed for self-defense. Still other, quasi-gun-free zones exist because our nation’s patchwork of concealed-carry laws mandate that law-abiding citizens from one state can be charged for carrying their gun for self-defense in another.

The legislation to fix this problem is already under consideration in the House, and Senator John Cornyn, R-Texas, has put forth companion legislation in the Senate. If we will not secure national reciprocity now, then when?

AWR Hawkins is the Second Amendment columnist for Breitbart News and host of “Bullets with AWR Hawkins,” a Breitbart News podcast. He is also the political analyst for Armed American Radio. Follow him on Twitter: @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at [email protected].


Joseph P. DeBergalis Jr.
Joseph P. DeBergalis Jr.

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