On December 6th, the House of Representatives passed a serious new piece of gun legislature in America. As you know, different states have different gun laws and regulations. Currently, if you can legally carry a concealed weapon in one state, you might be breaking the law if you take it into another state. The Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017 (H.R. 38) is a newly proposed piece of legislation that would require all states to recognize CCW permits issued in other states. You can read the full text of the bill here.
This bill seems to be crossing party lines. H.R. 38 moved through the House of Representatives with a 231-198 vote in favor of full reciprocity. While one might think that means there are 231 Republicans and 198 Democrats in the House, 14 Republican representatives actually voted against the measure, while 6 Democrats voted in favor of it.
The director of the NRA, Chris Cox, said about the passing of the bill, “The Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act is the culmination of a 30-year movement recognizing the right of all law-abiding Americans to defend themselves, and their loved ones, including when they cross state lines.” We happen to agree with Mr. Cox. While some opponents say that turning this bill into a law will allow anyone to carry a gun into a school zone, for example, the fact is that individual states can still have no-gun zones (such as schools or government buildings). Permit holders will still need to abide by a state’s individual gun laws and regulations, but their permit will be recognized by that state. Just like how your driver’s license is recognized from state to state, but you still have to follow that state’s road laws.
This is an incredibly important and monumental bill. Not only will it allow citizens to exercise their 2nd Amendment right to carry a firearm, but it also, as Cox goes on to say, “This bill ensures that all law-abiding citizens in our great country can protect themselves in the manner they see fit without accidentally running afoul of the law.” Those with concealed carry permits generally do not want to break the law - that’s why they have a permit. But if a handful of states recognize their permit and the rest do not, it is easy to accidentally get caught with a firearm where you are not supposed to be, which could lead to revocation of a permit for an otherwise law-abiding gun owner.
As an example, let’s say you are a gun-owning citizen in Pennsylvania with a state-issued concealed carry permit. You want to take the family on a road trip to New York City just a few hours away, so you hop in the car with the kids and your spouse and head off for a weekend of fun. Halfway there, you get pulled over for one reason or another, and the officer asks you if you have any weapons. You let them know that you have a concealed handgun and that you can show him your permit. Unfortunately for you, New York does not currently have a reciprocity agreement with Pennsylvania, and suddenly you’re being arrested for illegally carrying a firearm - all because you wanted to keep your family safe in the Big City.
If this sounds familiar, it’s because it happens quite frequently. In 2015, for example, a former US Marine named Elizabeth Elderly took a trip from her home in Houston to the September 11th Memorial in Manhattan. Living up to the ‘once a Marine, always a Marine’ standard that we live by hear at Leatherneck For Life, Elizabeth had two concealed firearms in her backpack, along with her Texas-issued permit to carry them. When entering the memorial, she saw a sign that said “no firearms” and told a police officer about her concealed handguns. Elizabeth was arrested and is facing 3-15 years in prison for an honest mistake. While this should serve as a reminder that all gun-owners should be familiar with current legislation before carrying their firearm across state lines, we hope that regulations like the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act that is sitting on the Senate table will protect good citizens, especially veterans who served our country, from being arrested for breaking a law they are not even aware of.
What’s Next For H.R. 38?
Since the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act passed in the House of Representatives, it is on to the the Senate where it must receive a 60-40 vote in favor before it heads to President Trump’s desk for his almost-guaranteed signature. Currently, Republicans have a 52-48 majority in the Senate, and if they all vote in favor of the bill, there will still need to be 8 votes from Democratic Senate to pass. The Senate is expected to vote on the bill sometime in early Spring of 2018.While we wait to see if the bill will become law, it might be a good time to stock up on your concealed carry clothing. Having a good concealed carry jacket or tactical bag on hand is great for unexpected outings where you want to be sure you can protect yourself. Make sure you are concealed carrying with the proper attire where your firearm is both secure and accessible. Our concealed carry apparel (including CCW jackets, tactical vests, belly band holsters, concealed carry hoodies, and more). We also sell concealed carry backpacks which are great for road trips (in states that recognize reciprocity, of course) or hunting trips. Check out all of our concealed carry apparel today.