Republican lawmakers in the U.S. House on Tuesday made it clear that national concealed carry reciprocity was a priority for the next Congress.
A group of 59 GOP representatives introduced a proposal — to allow the holder of a valid permit to carry a concealed handgun in any state — just after the body convened for its first session this week.
The bill is sponsored by U.S. Rep. Richard Hudson, a Republican from North Carolina, who is one of just six congressmen listed among the 62 co-chairs of the pro-gun Second Amendment Coalition of advisors to President-elect Trump.
Hudson contends carry permits should be treated the same as driver’s licenses.
“Our Second Amendment right doesn’t disappear when we cross state lines, and this legislation guarantees that,” he said in a statement. “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.”
Hudson’s plan, entered as HR 38, would allow the holder of a valid photo ID and concealed handgun permit to carry in any state so long as they are not prohibited from possessing a firearm under federal law. Persons carrying as a non-resident in a state would otherwise be bound by whatever laws of the state they are visiting. This would end the confusing patchwork of reciprocity agreements that are currently in place across the country.
Residents from one of nearly a dozen constitutional carry states would have the ability to be armed in other states that recognize their own resident’s right to permitless concealed carry.
A similar proposal in the last Congress gained 121 co-sponsors, including Hudson, but failed to advance in the face of near-certain rejection from the Obama administration. The lawmaker is expecting more from the new bill with an avowedly pro-gun GOP president in the White House.
“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,” said Hudson.
Across the aisle, Democrats such as U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut have vowed to block any version of a national reciprocity bill in the upper chamber of Congress where Republicans hold a majority too slim to overcome a partisan filibuster.