Bipartisan legislation aimed at national concealed carry reciprocity has been introduced by U.S. Rep. Richard Hudson (R-NC) as the 117th Congress convened, and the bill already boasts a record 154 original cosponsors, according to a news release from Hudson’s office.
The Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act (H.R. 38) has been introduced before and even passed the House by a 231-198 vote in December 2017. However, when it went to the Senate, it languished even though President Donald Trump had indicated support.
“Our Second Amendment rights do not disappear when we cross state lines, and H.R. 38 guarantees that,” said Rep. Hudson in his news release. “The Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2021 is a common sense solution to provide law-abiding citizens the right to conceal carry and travel freely between states without worrying about conflicting state codes or onerous civil suits. I am especially proud to have such widespread and bipartisan support for this measure and will work with my colleagues to get this legislation over the finish line.”
National reciprocity has garnered support from major gun rights groups including the National Shooting Sports Foundation, National Rifle Association, Gun Owners of America and the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms.
“This legislation provides an answer to the confusing patchwork of laws surrounding concealed carry permits, particularly with regard to states where laws make unwitting criminals out of legal permit holders for a simple mistake of a wrong traffic turn,” said Lawrence Keane, NSSF Senior Vice President and General Counsel. “It safeguards a state’s right to determine their own laws while protecting the Second Amendment rights of all Americans. We thank Rep. Hudson for his leadership on behalf of America’s hunters and recreational shooters.”
When Hudson’s legislation initially passed the House back in 2017, CCRKBA Chairman Alan Gottlieb declared, “For decades, the gun prohibition crowd has argued that gun owners should be licensed, same as drivers. Well, millions of them are licensed, and they should be afforded the same courtesy as automobile drivers who travel from state to state. After all, there is no constitutional right to drive a car, but there is a constitutionally-protected right to bear arms, and officials in those states need to recognize that.”
Yet the gun prohibition lobby has opposed such legislation, and has lobbied for an end to “shall issue” licensing in several states, which would return those states to a system of discretionary licensing schemes that have long been subject to abuse and favoritism. At least 16 states now allow concealed carry without a license, an approach generically dubbed “Constitutional Carry.” Utah lawmakers are currently considering such a measure.
According to the Crime Prevention Research Center’s most recent estimate, there are now at least 19.5 million active carry licenses in the United States. Florida, Texas, Georgia and Pennsylvania each have more than 1 million active licenses.
The issue of concealed carry has been in the headlines lately thanks to freshman Congresswoman Lauren Boebert (R-CO), who has vowed to carry her personal sidearm while walking to and from Capitol Hill, for personal protection. According to The Guardian, Washington, D.C. Police Chief Robert Contee III will be contacting Boebert about a video she published ostensibly portraying her walking District streets while carrying a concealed handgun.
Let me tell you why I WILL carry my Glock to Congress.
Government does NOT get to tell me or my constituents how we are allowed to keep our families safe.
— Lauren Boebert (@laurenboebert) January 4, 2021
“We plan to reach out to the congresswoman’s office to make sure that she is aware what the laws of the District of Columbia are,” Contee said, “what the restrictions are. And that congresswoman … will be subjected to the same penalties as anyone else that’s caught on a District of Columbia street carrying a firearm unlawfully.”
Boebert describes herself as a “5-foot-tall, 100-pound woman and mother of four” who refuses to give up her Second Amendment rights.