Posts Tagged ‘Reciprocity’

postheadericon What You Need To Know About The Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act Of 2017

This is a post from firearms legal expert Phil Nelsen of MyLegalHeat.com and is republished here with permission.

Have you heard there is new federal legislation that will allow someone with a concealed carry permit from one state to carry in all 50 states? It actually might not be as awesome as you have heard. The purpose of this article is to dispel some of the myths associated with this proposed legislation and give an update on its status.

What is the Law & What is the Status?

H.R. 38: Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017 is a new iteration of a law that has been proposed several times over the past 6 years. In its most recent form it was introduced on January 03,

 

2017 by U.S. Representative Richard Hudson (NC-08). The NRA and other gun rights organizations have been outspoken in their support of this legislation. This week (December 6th) it was voted on by the US House of Representatives and passed by a 231/198 margin. Although it has cleared the House it still has many steps to clear before it becomes law. A brief summary of the remaining procedural process is below:

  1. It will go to a Senate subcommittee to approve their version of the legislation; then
  2. It will be scheduled for a floor vote in the Senate, with the potential for a filibuster; then
  3. It would go to a joint conference committee and the two bills (House & Senate) would be “reconciled” by the committee; then
  4. The reconciled bill will need to be voted on again by both the House and Senate.  Many bills die at this stage as the two separate pieces of legislation from the two houses are often so different that they cannot be reconciled; then
  5. For the final step it goes to President Trump’s desk, who has indicated he would sign similar laws in the past.
The house version has combined two separate bills, one on national reciprocity and the FIX NICS bill.  The FIX NICS bill has widespread support among Democrats, whereas the  Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act has significantly less.

Largely due to the social media buzz surrounding it, many people in our training classes are misinformed on many aspects of this potential law (many people we speak with believe it is already a law, which is dangerous). We have received hundreds of emails and phone calls from past students asking about the “new law” and the amount of misinformation we’ve heard is alarming to us. There are some legitimate misunderstandings out there about the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act, and we want to help clarify a few important points.

What Will the Law Do? 

Many people we speak with believe this legislation would make it so one permit would be valid in all 50 states, like a driver’s license. In fact Congressman Hudson’s own website says the following regarding the law:

“Your driver’s license works in every state, so why doesn’t your concealed carry permit?” (source)

That is absolutely not what this law will do, however, and it is important to understand what the law actually says.

The Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017 is intended to “amend title 18, United States Code, to provide a means by which non- residents of a State whose residents may carry concealed firearms may also do so in the State.”

Subsection (a) states that

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) … in any State

AWESOME RIGHT?!? As long as I have a photo ID & concealed permit (or am from a constitutional carry state) then I’ll be able to carry in any state, what’s wrong with that???

The problem is the text of the proposed law doesn’t stop at that point. If it did, I would agree it would be a great law. Instead it goes on to create two very distinct problems.

What Are The Problems With The Law?

Problem #1: A permit holder would only be able to carry in a state that, “has a statute that allows residents of the State to obtain licenses or permits to carry concealed firearms” OR “does not prohibit the carrying of concealed firearms by residents of the State for lawful purposes.”

  • The problem with the above text is that  it provides a strong incentive for restrictive states (like Maryland, New Jersey, Hawaii, New York & California) to prohibit concealed carry altogether. Think about it, when faced with the following two choices, do you think that New Jersey and California (who are historically very restrictive in issuing concealed permits) are going to (1) open the floodgates to every freedom loving American to carry a gun, OR  (2) simply prohibit concealed carry altogether, thus exempting themselves from the National Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act. If this law passes, reasonable minds could agree we would see at least the following states take steps to completely prohibit concealed carry: California, New Jersey, New York, Maryland, Hawaii, Delaware, Massachusetts, and Connecticut. In sum, we would see a regression in the amount of states that allow concealed carry. Naturally residents of those states could then take their case to the courts and hopefully we would see the state and federal courts rule favorably in some of those jurisdictions, but sadly as we’ve seen over the past few years, that is far from a sure bet.

Problem #2: “This [law] shall not be construed to supersede or limit the laws of any State that—(1) permit private persons or entities to prohibit or restrict the possession of concealed firearms on their property; or (2) prohibit or restrict the possession of firearms on any State or local government property, installation, building, base, or park.”

  • What this means is that those middle-of-the-road states (like Oregon, Washington, Illinois and South Carolina) which likely won’t decide to eliminate concealed carry altogether, but also don’t necessarily want millions of visitors carrying guns in their state, will likely make it SUBSTANTIALLY more difficult to carry a gun in their state. States like Oregon and Illinois (among others) have historically been very opposed to granting non-resident carry rights within their state. Instead of suddenly opening the doors for everyone to carry, we will likely see state legislatures tightening the areas within the state where you are allowed to carry through increased prohibited areas. Advancements that took years to accomplish could potentially vanish overnight due to an overly paranoid media frenzy.

Would Any State Permit Work, or Would I Need My Home State Permit? 

There has been a fair amount of debate about this question. When discussing what permits would allows someone to carry in all states, the law say that a person must have a, “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.”

This wording is more complicated than it first appears. What this means is that your home state permit will always satisfy this requirement, as it entitles you to “carry a concealed firearm in the state in which [you] reside.” Many people who live in restrictive states, like Maryland or New Jersey, have been asking if they can get an easier to obtain out of state permit (such as Utah or Virginia) and still be able to carry in all states. The answer, under the currently worded law, is maybe. Unless the permit you have allows you to carry in your home state, or your state has constitutional carry, the wording of the current law is somewhat awkward regarding non-resident permits. It appears their intent was to allow you to obtain a permit from any state, but if that is the case the language of the law should be updated to unambiguously state that.

In Summary:

There are some positives to this law. I like that concealed carry is being discussed on a national stage and I am glad it is making people more cognizant of the very complicated patchwork of gun laws we have in America. I also like that the law does away with the crazy patchwork of laws regulating magazine capacity (it allows “any magazine for use in a handgun and any ammunition loaded into the handgun or its magazine”), and it explicitly allows for carry on certain federal land (such as National Parks and Army Corp of Engineers property).

However, I think this legislation is badly in need of refinement if it is to accomplish what we all want it to accomplish. To me, a much better option would be to pursue a judicial remedy for the right to bear arms much like the NRA and the SAF achieved for the right to keep arms (click here for a summary of the difference). However, if we are going to attack this issue through legislation it needs to be done properly. As most are aware, Legal Heat is the largest provider of concealed carry training in America, having certified over 150,000 people to obtain concealed carry permits. We are also the publishers of a 50 state gun law book app that is used by hundreds of thousands of gun owners to navigate gun laws in all 50 states. The attorneys at Legal Heat have also worked on several pieces of concealed carry legislation and would be more than happy to act in an advisory role for Congressman Hudson or anyone else involved in this legislation. We want this law to pass, we just want it to be amended slightly before passing.

For the first time in our history the question before us now is not IF we can pass nationwide reciprocity legislation, but instead HOW such a law should be strategically handled. We are in an exciting time for American gun rights. Legal Heat is very excited about the potential to see quick and decisive progress in the fight for the individual right to keep and bear arms. We will continue to stand on the front lines of this issue by training tens of thousands of Americans each year. If you are interested in attending a training class click here to find a course in your area. 

For updates on this proposed legislation and any other gun related issues please follow us on Facebook.

Knowledge is power. Make sure to share this article. 


Phil Nelsen is a nationally recognized firearms law attorney, expert witness, college professor, author and co-founder of Legal Heat, the nation’s largest firearms training firm and exclusive national CCW training provider to Cabela’s.

Legal Heat offers CCW classes nationwide, and also publishes the industry leading Legal Heat 50 State Guide to Firearm Laws and Regulations which can be downloaded on iTunes, GooglePlay and Kindle App stores. You can purchase the paperback version of the Legal Heat 50 State Guide or sign up for a class at https://mylegalheat.com

Concealed Nation

postheadericon What’s Good (And Bad) About The Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017

Have you heard there is new federal legislation that will allow someone with a concealed carry permit from one state to carry in all 50 states? Sounds awesome right? Might not be as awesome as you think. The purpose of this article is to dispel some of the myths associated with this proposed legislation and give an update on its status.

The Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017 is a new iteration of a law that has been proposed several times over the past 6 years. In its most recent form it was introduced on January 03, 2017 by U.S. Representative Richard Hudson (NC-08). The NRA and other gun rights organizations have been outspoken in their support of this legislation. Largely due to the social media buzz surrounding it, many people in our classes are misinformed on many aspects of this potential law (many people we speak with believe it is already a law, which is dangerous). We have received hundreds of emails and phone calls from past students asking about the “new law” and the amount of misinformation we’ve heard is alarming to us. Don’t get me wrong, we love hearing from past students and we are always flattered when you reach out to us for advice, but there are some legitimate misunderstandings out there about the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act, and we want to help clarify a few important points.

Many people we speak with believe this legislation would make it so one permit would be valid in all 50 states, like a driver’s license. In fact Congressman Hudson’s own website says the following regarding the law:

Your driver’s license works in every state, so why doesn’t your concealed carry permit? (source)

That is absolutely not what this law will do, however, and it is important to understand what the law actually says.

The Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017 is intended to “amend title 18, United States Code, to provide a means by which non- residents of a State whose residents may carry concealed firearms may also do so in the State.”

Subsection (a) says that anyone who (1) is not prohibited from possessing a gun under federal law AND (2) has a valid identification document containing a photograph in their possession AND (3) has a valid state issued license to carry a concealed handgun (from any state) may carry a concealed handgun in any state.

AWESOME RIGHT?!? As long as I have a photo ID & concealed permit then I’ll be able to carry in any state, what’s wrong with that???

The problem is the text of the proposed law doesn’t stop there. If it did, I would agree it would be a great law. Instead it goes on to create two very distinct problems.

1: A permit holder would only be able to carry in a state that, “has a statute that allows residents of the State to obtain licenses or permits to carry concealed firearms” OR “does not prohibit the carrying of concealed firearms by residents of the State for lawful purposes.”

  • The problem with the above text is that it provides a strong incentive for restrictive states (like Maryland, New Jersey, Hawaii, New York & California) to prohibit concealed carry altogether. Think about it, when faced with the following two choices, do you think that New Jersey and California (who are historically very restrictive in issuing concealed permits) are going to (1) open the floodgates to every freedom loving American to carry a gun, OR (2) simply prohibit concealed carry altogether, thus exempting themselves from the National Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act. If this law passes, reasonable minds could agree we would see at least the following states take steps to completely prohibit concealed carry: California, New Jersey, New York, Maryland, Hawaii, Delaware, Massachusetts, and Connecticut. In sum, we would see a regression in the amount of states that allow concealed carry. Naturally residents of those states could then take their case to the courts and hopefully we would see the state and federal courts rule favorably in some of those jurisdictions, but sadly as we’ve seen over the past few years, that is far from a sure bet.

2: “The possession or carrying of a concealed hand-gun in a State under this section shall be subject to the same conditions and limitations … imposed by…State law or the law of a political subdivision of a State”

  • What this means is that those middle-of-the-road states (like Oregon, Washington, Illinois and South Carolina) which likely won’t decide to eliminate concealed carry altogether, but also don’t necessarily want millions of visitors carrying guns in their state, will likely make it SUBSTANTIALLY more difficult to carry a gun in their state. States like Oregon and Illinois (among others) have historically been very opposed to granting non-resident carry rights within their state. Instead of suddenly opening the doors for everyone to carry, we will likely see state legislatures tightening the areas within the state where you are allowed to carry through increased prohibited areas. Advancements that took years to accomplish could potentially vanish overnight due to an overly paranoid media frenzy.

There are some positives to this law. I like that concealed carry is being discussed on a national stage and I am glad it is making people more cognizant of the very complicated patchwork of gun laws we have in America. However, I think this legislation is badly in need of refinement if it is to accomplish what we all want it to accomplish. To me, a much better option would be to pursue a judicial remedy for the right to bear arms much like the NRA and the SAF achieved for the right to keep arms (click here for a summary of the difference). However, if we are going to attack this issue through legislation it needs to be done properly. As most are aware, Legal Heat is the largest provider of concealed carry training in America, having certified over 150,000 people to obtain concealed carry permits. We are also the publishers of a 50 state gun law book & app that is used by hundreds of thousands of gun owners to navigate gun laws in all 50 states. The attorneys at Legal Heat have also worked on several pieces of concealed carry legislation and would be more than happy to act in an advisory role for Congressman Hudson or anyone else involved in this legislation. We want this law to pass, we just want it to be amended slightly before passing.

Having said all of that, what is the status of this legislation? It is currently sitting in the House awaiting review by a committee and a floor vote. If it clears the House then it will be sent to the Senate for joint resolution before being sent to the President’s desk. President Trump has been fairly outspoken about his willingness to sign a law of this nature. For the first time in our history the question before us now is not IF we can pass nationwide reciprocity legislation, but instead HOW such a law should be strategically handled. We are in an exciting time for American gun rights. Legal Heat is very excited about the potential to see quick and decisive progress in the fight for the individual right to keep and bear arms.We will continue to stand on the front lines of this issue by training tens of thousands of Americans each year. If you are interested in attending a training class click here to find a course in your area.

Phil Nelsen is a nationally recognized firearms law attorney, expert witness, college professor, author and co-founder of Legal Heat, the nation’s largest firearms training firm and exclusive national CCW training provider to Cabela’s.

Legal Heat offers CCW classes nationwide, and also publishes the industry leading Legal Heat 50 State Guide to Firearm Laws and Regulations which can downloaded on iTunes, GooglePlay and Kindle App stores. You can purchase the paperback version of the Legal Heat 50 State Guide or sign up for a class at https://mylegalheat.com

Concealed Nation

postheadericon TAKE ACTION: National Reciprocity Bill Now Has More Than 80 Cosponsors

What if you, the concealed carrier, could travel throughout all fifty states without worrying about whether a state acknowledged your permit? That question may be answered as soon as a recent House Bill clears its subcommittees and garners enough support to go to the floor.

The Constitutional Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2015 is a bill currently in the sponsoring stages in the House of Representatives. As of March 16th, it is sitting inside the House Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations. This is one of the vetting stages needed to pass before a bill will hit the floor of the House.

For the first time, Congress looks like it’s willing to make a concerted effort to propose legislation which would save concealed carriers from being charged as criminals should they wander across the border into a state that does not acknowledge their permit’s validity.

Have you contacted your House Representative and told him or her you’re on board?

If you’ve followed Concealed Nation for awhile, you likely have read your fair share of stories of concealed carriers unwittingly crossing over into New Jersey and fighting to stay out of prison. While Gov. Chris Christie promised reform to those types of restrictions, we’ve sat back and watched as the New Jersey legislature has systematically dismantled any attempt to actually do so.

In the meantime, concealed carriers are being prosecuted for violating gun laws disconnected from any actual threat that the concealed carrier posed to the public.

While we always advocate safety, responsibility, and a knowledge of the law, we’ve been stuck with a very convoluted system of managing reciprocity for concealed carry licenses. At present, you have to do quite a bit of research just to see what states you can drive through without violating some state’s law. Concealed Carry Reciprocity maps certainly help as a general guide, but when you’re faced with potentially losing your home, vehicle, and children’s future because California (or Maryland, New Jersey, Hawaii, etc.) doesn’t acknowledge a person’s right to keep and bear arms — that’s ridiculous and constitutionally wrong.

So maybe it’s time we pass a national reciprocity bill that requires all states to acknowledge each other — even permitless carry states. So long as the bill doesn’t get twisted into some sort of convoluted mess, this could signal a giant leap forward in helping responsible, concealed carriers travel freely and without impediment throughout our great country.

Step up. Call or email your House Representative and tell him you’re on board and he should be, too!

Concealed Nation

postheadericon Virginia Must Accept All Permits Beginning July 1st! Concealed Carry Reciprocity Win!

RICHMOND, VIRGINIA — Today, Virignia Governor Terry McAuliffe signed into law a new reciprocity agreement after quite a public fiasco that happened over the past few months.

Concealed carriers in Virginia and around the country collectively let out a sigh of relief when Democratic Governor Terry McAuliffe agreed to a Republican-backed measure to ensure concealed carry reciprocity with the majority of other states.  There was a serious scare a little while back when the Attorney General decided to take drastic measures to reduce reciprocity with neighboring states like Tennessee.  This resulted in a huge débâcle for cities like Bristol, which lie on the border.  For concealed carriers driving through Virginia, it was also an incredible burden.

Thankfully, it looks like this political quagmire is over.  As the Washington Post reports, the governor and legislators all seem peachy-keen on the new deal set to take effect on July 1st.

via Washington Post

“This is a bipartisan deal that will make Virginians safer,” McAuliffe spokesman Brian Coy said. “It also demonstrates that Democrats and Republicans can work together on key issues like keeping guns out of dangerous hands.”

Attorney General Mark R. Herring’s decision last month effectively gutted Virginia concealed carry reciprocity.  When we first covered it, we were a bit flabbergasted that pundits were calling the move “purely political maneuvering” when there are real people caught in the proverbial cross-hairs.  For instance, if you lived in Tennessee and lived the majority of your time as a concealed carrier with reciprocity with Virginia, you’re now in hot water if you step over the border on a routine grocery run.

But, I guess the joke’s on us, right?  RIGHT?!

While we’re really glad that Virginia has decided to counteract some rather dangerous and unpleasant changes in their reciprocity agreements, it’s still a painful “win”.  What guarantees do we have that the governor of Virginia won’t decide to hold us all hostage again?  Why does this feel like we’re negotiating with a supervillian instead of a theoretically democratically elected leader?

Well, there were apparently a few trade-offs.  For one, any Virginian resident under a two-year protective custody order for domestic violence can be legally stripped of his or her firearms.  The second part just means that the Virginia State Police will be represented at every gun show to provide background checks upon request.

The second one really doesn’t seem like a bad idea.  The first one is a little icky because it basically places the state in the role of confiscating another person’s property.  But, they also negotiated around that part, too, because once someone gets issued a two-year protective order for domestic violence, Virginia law will now require him to sell or dispose of his gun collection within 24 hours.

All said and done, I’d rather be able to carry legally in Virginia than have to treat Virginia like I do Maryland — with my handgun unloaded and locked in the trunk of my car.

The Governor’s Office released the following statement today, regarding the new law:

Governor Terry McAuliffe today finalized a historic bipartisan agreement to make Virginia safer by signing three key pieces of legislation into law. Joined by First Lady Dorothy McAuliffe, Democratic and Republican legislators, law enforcement officials, Virginia prosecutors and domestic violence prevention advocates at a signing ceremony in the Virginia Executive Mansion, the Governor thanked the leaders who worked with him and his team to make this agreement a reality.

“The historic bipartisan agreement will make Virginia safer by keeping guns out of the hands of domestic abusers and people who cannot pass background checks,” said Governor McAuliffe. “Virginians elect their leaders to work together to get things done, and today I am proud to say we did just that. This is the most significant step forward on gun safety in 24 years, and I look forward to continuing to work with the General Assembly and the public safety community to build on the progress we made this session.”

The three bills signed by Governor McAuliffe were part of a bipartisan agreement with the General Assembly to pass legislation requiring any person who is subject to a permanent protective order for family abuse to relinquish his or her guns within 24 hours or face a Class 6 felony. The bill, which had been defeated for many years in the General Assembly, will give Virginia one of the strongest laws in the nation with regard to taking guns away from domestic abusers.

“Governor McAuliffe’s action today will unequivocally improve public safety in the Commonwealth and save lives,” said Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security Brian Moran. “The law signed today will be the toughest in the country on permanent protective orders for family abuse.”

The General Assembly also passed legislation granting Virginia State Police the statutory authority to run background checks for non-federally licensed vendors at gun shows. Previously, private firearm sellers who did not possess a federal license could not access the federal background check system – meaning they could not run background checks even if they wanted to. According to the agreement, Virginia State Police will now attend every gun show in the Commonwealth and offer background checks to every vendor who wants one.

Finally, as part of the agreement, Governor McAuliffe agreed to sign legislation passed by a bipartisan majority of the General Assembly recognizing concealed carry permits from other states. The legislation will also protect the right of Virginia concealed carry permit holders to carry a concealed handgun in states that demand such reciprocity agreements.

“This bipartisan agreement is a major step toward securing the Second Amendment rights of Virginia’s most law-abiding citizens,” said House Speaker William J. Howell. “I am also proud of the steps we are taking on public safety. I want to thank Governor McAuliffe for signing this legislation, and I thank Secretary Moran, Delegate Gilbert, Delegate Lingamfelter, Delegate Webert, and Senator Reeves for their hard work to make this agreement a reality.”

Senator Bryce Reeves added, “Today’s bill signing culminates a month of bipartisan work and good governance on behalf of all Virginians. The bills signed today protect Virginians’ constitutional rights and make our Commonwealth safer. I am proud to have carried Senate Bill 610 this year, protecting the rights of 421,000 law-abiding Virginians who hold concealed carry permits. I am glad to have the Governor’s support on this measure with his signature today.”

“I want to commend Governor McAuliffe and the bipartisan coalition of legislators who came together around an agreement that will make Virginia a safer place to live,” said Senator Janet Howell. “No compromise is perfect, but these three bills will save lives by keeping guns out of the hands of domestic abusers and people who can’t pass background checks. I am proud to have worked with the Governor and my colleagues from both chambers and both parties to make the most significant steps forward on gun safety in Virginia in decades.”

Concealed Nation

postheadericon BREAKING: Virginia Thankfully Reverses Its Proposed Concealed Carry Reciprocity Chop!

FAIRFAX, VIRGINIA — Governor Terry McAuliffe has struck a deal with the Republicans from the great Commonwealth of Virginia.  In exchange for calling off his dog, Attorney General Attorney General Mark R. Herring, from tearing apart a majority of agreements … Continue reading
Concealed Nation

postheadericon A Plan To Remove VA Governor’s Armed Detail In Response To His Concealed Carry Reciprocity Move

RICHMOND, VIRGINIA — In a surprising turn of events, Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring has effectively severed Virginia’s concealed carry reciprocity ties with a majority of other states it had previously had agreements with.  This is a pretty horrible thing … Continue reading
Concealed Nation

postheadericon Did You Know There’s An Interactive Concealed Carry Reciprocity Map Out There?

With so many people crossing state lines every year who carry concealed, it’s important to know the law for the state you’re entering… and it’s also important to know if they even allow you to carry concealed in their state … Continue reading
Concealed Nation