Now that the US Supreme Court has affirmed that a person’s Second Amendment rights do not end at their front door, many think it’s time for Congress to finally end the nation’s patchwork of different concealed carry laws. Rep. Richard Hudson (R-NC) has been trying to get his Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act passed in Congress since 2017. Hudson reintroduced the legislation as soon as House business got underway after the election of House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA).
The bill is HR 38 and it has 118 co-sponsors so far. If passed into law, the concealed carry permit that a person obtains in one state would be valid in every other state, much like a driver’s license. This has been desperately needed for many years, because the current system of having 50 different versions of the Second Amendment is, quite frankly, schizophrenic.
Take, for example, a family in Missouri that wants to visit relatives in Indiana. The father is a law-abiding gun owner with a concealed carry permit. He’s gone through the training and purchased his license from the government (which is itself an infringement of 2A, but that’s a fight for further down the road at some point).
Suppose the family then tries to take the most direct route for their trip, through the gun-grabbing communist hell hole of Illinois. The father, who is fully trained and licensed to concealed carry, keeps a firearm in the car to protect his family on the journey. Then, he gets pulled over by an Illinois cop and they find the gun in the car.
That’s guy’s life is over.
He’ll be arrested, his firearm will be confiscated, and they might even confiscate the family car. When convicted of a felony gun crime in Illinois, even though he’s licensed and trained in Missouri, that father will spend three years in prison. He might even lose his wife and kids if she doesn’t want to wait three years for him to get out of JB Pritzker’s prison.
When he finally is released and gets out of prison, he’ll never get his firearm back. And when he goes back to Missouri, he has now lost his Second Amendment right to own a firearm everywhere, because he’s a convicted felon in another state. He loses that right which is supposed to be secured by the federal government, even though he is totally compliant with the laws of Ohio and Indiana.
So, this family that wants to travel from Missouri to Indiana has four options because of nightmare scenarios like this. They can travel unprotected. They can break the law and risk losing everything, including the right to keep and bear arms. They can take a much longer trip by driving through Kentucky and then back up to Indiana, bypassing Illinois. Or they can choose to not travel at all.
Most gun owners realize that if they want to travel across the country with a firearm in their vehicle, they need to plan their route carefully, choosing only gun-friendly states where they’re unlikely to be bothered, let alone have their lives destroyed for exercising a constitutional right.
They also understand that it’s incredibly dangerous, if not downright foolhardy, to take a gun with them into certain states. (The irony, of course, is that the blue states that will zealously wreck a gun owner’s life are the same states where you’re most likely to need a firearm for protection.)
This patchwork of different gun laws from state to state, where a person in compliance with the laws until they cross an invisible line on the ground, needs to be stopped. We know that Democrats in the Senate will never support the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act, and Joe Biden would never sign it.
But it’s good that Rep. Hudson continues to fight for this issue because it will eventually be passed by a Republican Senator and signed into law by a Republican president. Continuing to push the bill raises awareness of the problem, and winning people over is how we’ll eventually overcome this patchwork network of conflicting laws.