National Reciprocity

There’s movement afoot for National Reciprocity.

H.R. 822, introduced in the U.S. House by Representatives Cliff Stearns (R-Fla.) and Heath Shuler (D-N.C.), would allow any person with a valid state-issued concealed firearm permit to carry a concealed firearm in any state that issues concealed firearm permits, or that does not prohibit the carrying of concealed firearms for lawful purposes. A state`s laws governing where concealed firearms may be carried would apply within its borders. The bill applies to D.C., Puerto Rico and U.S. territories. It would not create a federal licensing system; rather, it would require the states to recognize each others` carry permits, just as they recognize drivers` licenses and carry permits held by armored car guards. Rep. Stearns has introduced such legislation since 1995.

I’ve been torn on this issue because it hits two things dear to me: gun rights, and state’s rights. While sure the gun rights side of me would love to see this happen, it also feels like it’s potentially stepping upon state’s rights since as it is most gun laws — including concealed carry — is instituted at the state level. How to reconcile these? I know a lot of people, especially these days, are happy to jump on whatever part of politics achieves their goals: if screaming “states rights!” meets their goal, they’ll jump on it, even if it might contradict other things… because too many people are self-serving instead of principled.

Somehow I felt that yes, this is right, but I couldn’t adequately word it in a proper, Constitutional way, if in fact there was one.

The Cato Institute Daily Podcast for September 19, 2011 featured David Kopel and discussed this very issue. It’s only 9 minutes long, but it discusses why yes in fact a system of national reciprocity is Constitutional and doesn’t step on state’s rights. In short, 14th amendment. But to better understand it, listen to the podcast.

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2 thoughts on “National Reciprocity”

  1. Had a brief moment to drop in before I get ready for my last day of Nationals :-)

    Before I made it to the bit at the end about the Cato Daily Podcast (which I also listen to – at least on an irregular basis), I was already thinking that a lot of “us” would argue this as a 2nd Amendment issue which, due to it’s recent incorporation under the 14th, means the states don’t *have* the right to limit these sorts of things. This would be a small step towards affirming that, as it’ll surely be brought before the Supreme Court at some point, etc… Based on my readings of the SCOTUS cases involved in incorporation, this would fall in line with SCOTUS’s opinions, but perhaps declaring that anyone can carry in any state, etc, would not, so…

    1. If I had the time, I’d like to read Kopel’s testimony that he referred to in the podcast. The impression I received was they weren’t arguing for any sort of national license or bringing about “new things”. Just that reciprocity is something that must be granted under the 14th amendment (free travel, etc.). So since Illinois has no means of licensing, you couldn’t carry there since there’d be nothing to reciprocate.

      Oddly, it doesn’t really come down as a 2A issue, at least directly. It’s more directly a 14A issue.

      Give a listen to the podcast. Kopel makes an interesting case, which I really haven’t heard others touting… most of “our people” are touting it at a 2A thing, or if they’re voicing it as a 14A thing aren’t voicing it as well as Kopel.

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