If you legally conceal carry a firearm it means you must have some form of a carry permit issued to you by your local Sheriff’s department. That also means you’re aware of how not every state will let you conceal carry just because your home state does. If you were driving while concealed-carrying and you passed into a state that didn’t honor your permit it could result in a misdemeanor at best if caught. Quite inconvenient.
So for those unfamiliar — what is national reciprocity? National reciprocity is the ideal scenario for gun owners where there would be legislation enacted that allows those with concealed carry weapon permits (CCW’s) to legally do so in any state outside of their resident state. The legal jargon would state that a permit holder’s right to carry in one state should be reciprocated in other states as well, ideally the whole country. That’s how we come by the term national reciprocity.
Due to the varying rules per state; each state has different policies on whether they issue carry permits to residents solely or non-residents as well… a great resource can be found on usacarry.com where they have a concealed carry permit reciprocity map that explains in detail where you can and can’t obtain a CCW and which states will honor your permit. Without national reciprocity, law abiding citizens would have to collect multiple permits, potentially take CCW classes repeatedly in order to cover most of the country.
So what does constitutional carry refer to then? In layman’s terms, if constitutional carry legislation is passed for a state it would then mean no permits would be required for citizens to carry weapons whether they are in the open, or concealed. The idea is called “constitutional” because it refers to the earliest implementation of the Second Amendment back from the late 1700s.
In the past few months, constitutional carry has become a mainstream movement across the country with up to 17 states restoring some version of constitutional carry. As of this moment, half of the United States actually has constitutional carry (in square mileage). If we’re counting states, ultimately there are 18 states that allow residents to carry mostly in an unrestricted fashion, 24 states that “shall issue” and 8 states that “may issue.” The interpretation for “may” essentially means good luck getting a permit as that discretion is solely held by local authorities.
Your luck in getting a CCW could very well depend on the county you live in as well, not just which state. For example, in Los Angeles County of Southern California, you could likely count the number of people who receive CCW’s each year with just your two hands; namely celebrities and politicians. But Los Angeles County’s neighbors to the east (San Bernardino County) and the south (Orange County) issue hundreds of permits each year.
It’s the same concept as when cities declared themselves as sanctuaries for illegal immigrants in tandem with their announcement that they would not be cooperating with ICE (U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement) by limiting or completely withholding assistance for federal immigration officers operating within a “sanctuary’s” jurisdiction.
But in this case, legislation is passed in a city, county, or state that refrains law enforcement officers from enforcing any laws deemed unconstitutional with regard to the Second Amendment. At the time of this article, over 20 states have had hundreds of municipalities pass laws effectively making themselves 2A Sanctuaries.
There is a House Bill (H.R. 38) called the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act which has been in multiple sessions of congress, including the current one, but has not yet been passed. If the bill is never passed by congress, 2A Sanctuaries could become increasingly important and even essential for us on the road to achieving national reciprocity. But we are hopeful — H.R. 38 now has 179 cosponsors.
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