Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017

Rep. Richard Hudson (R-NC) introduced HR 38 - Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017 - yesterday on the first day of the 115th Congress. The bill provides that if you have a concealed carry permit or you reside in a state which has constitutional carry then you may carry in any state that allows concealed carry for their own residents. The state in which you are visiting would still maintain the right to limit where you may or may not carry concealed.

Federal areas such as National Wildlife Refuges, Corps of Engineers, BLM, and Bureau of Reclamation lands would now be open to concealed carry under the bill. Furthermore, it reinforces the ability to carry concealed in National Parks.

The bill also puts the burden of proof on the state or municipality to show that an individual did not comply with the law if detained. It would also grant the individual attorneys' fees if he or she won their case.

The bill currently has 63 co-sponsors including at least two Democrats. I expect the bill to have many more co-sponsors added in due time.

In introducing the bill, Rep. Hudson said:
“Our Second Amendment right doesn’t disappear when we cross state lines, and this legislation guarantees that. The Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017 is a common sense solution to a problem too many Americans face. It will provide law-abiding citizens the right to conceal carry and travel freely between states without worrying about conflicting state codes or onerous civil suits. As a member of President-elect Trump’s Second Amendment Coalition, I look forward to working with my colleagues and the administration to get this legislation across the finish line.”
Donald Trump has signaled his readiness to sign such a bill if it passed Congress.

A few things stand out in the language of the bill. First, it does not specify that the concealed carry permit be issued by the carrier's state of residence. It just says that the person must not be a prohibited person and that they are carrying a permit issued "pursuant to the law of a State." Your state of residence is only an issue for those people living in constitutional carry states.

Second, if I am reading it correctly, the term handgun means any handgun with any magazine loaded with any ammunition. It does not say that I would be prohibited from having a standard size magazine in California nor does it say that the magazine has to be loaded with ball ammo if I was passing through New Jersey which bans hollow-point ammunition to non-law enforcement.

Third, a person possessing a handgun under this act would not be subject to "the prohibitions of section 922(q)." 18 U.S. Code § 922(q) is the Gun-Free School Zones Act of 1994.

The only thing missing from this act is any mention of carry in National Forests.

I have embedded the bill below so that you can read it and see if my conclusions regarding the language of the bill are correct.


  1. John, a few notes:

    - As written, this law appears to preempt state may-issue. There appears no limitation preventing a MD resident from carrying in MD using a Florida permit. This is different from previous bills.

    - National Forests are covered under BLM, NPS and probably BoR jurisdiction. For instance, Sequoia/King's Canyon Nat'l in CA is NPS so you'd be good in both.

    - This law would preempt gun/magazine/ammo bans at the state level, though it would not stop transfer prohibitions of the same. So if you live in CA, you are stuck using CA guns even if I can carry the Glock-o-Matic AK-15 Baby Seal Stalker, Ultra-Mag 2017 Trump Edition.

    - Gun-Free-School-Zone was an issue in past versions of this bill, but are handled here.


    - This does not appear to apply in DC or any non-state territory of the USA. This is a huge issue for a great many people (yours truly, included).

    - Right now this is what we call a "Show Bill" - it'll pass through the House and get filibustered in the Senate. Time will tell how serious the GOP/Trump is in making this law by whether they will amend this text onto authorization/funding bills that the Dems won't stop. This is how we got Amtrak, etc. through with Obama - attached to a credit card regulation bill.

  2. It also appears to cover people from Constitutional Carry states, particularly Vermont:

    "...and who is carrying a valid license or permit which is issued pursuantto 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"

    In other words, all you would need is a valid ID if your state of residence recognizes your right to carry concealed without any special permit.

    It also appears to grant individuals the right to recoup their court costs if a recalcitrant jurisdiction attempts to prosecute them; This may not deter initial attempts to prosecute, but it will certainly remove one of the biggest disincentives to being a test case. This should also ensure that virtually anyone who gets charged will opt to fight the charges in court, and it will also likely means that they'll likely have the full backing of groups like the NRA and 2nd Amendment Foundation to front the funds to cover their defense. The following section, (d)(3) also virtually guarantees that civil litigation will follow any successful criminal defense.

    It's not perfect, but there's a lot to like about it.