The Constitutional Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2015

By Suzanne Wiley published on in News

Since 1995, former House Representative Cliff Stearns (R-Florida) had introduced a federal concealed carry reciprocity bill during his term in office. It has only taken 20 years, but Rep. Stearns’ wish is looking like it may come true.

With a Republican majority and a concealed carry law finally in place in all 50 states, the Constitutional Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act seems likely to pass.

Last year, a story grabbed America’s attention exposing the harsh reality of strict gun control laws. Many Americans on either side of the gun rights debate cried foul at the treatment of Shaneen Allen, a law-abiding citizen who faced a felony conviction and an 11 1/2 year mandatory prison sentence for simply doing what her concealed carry permit training had told her to do.

Colored map showing which states accept out-of-state concealed carry permits

The Constitutional Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act would make this map useless! Write your representatives today in support of this much-needed law.

In the summer of 2014, Shaneen, a single mother living in South Philadelphia, packed up her two sons and drove to Atlantic City to celebrate one of the boy’s birthdays. Shaneen, who worked three jobs to support her children, held a concealed carry permit in Pennsylvania. Due to her odd hours tending bar she often had to pick up her boys in the wee hours of the morning. She was mugged twice in less than three months after getting off work. To protect her children and herself, she chose to buy a gun. Unbeknownst to Shaneen, even though South Philadelphia and Atlantic City, New Jersey are less than an hour away, the states’ gun laws are a world apart.

Upon arriving in Atlantic County, New Jersey, Shaneen was pulled over for what was cited as an “unsafe lane change.” Shaneen had her Bersa Thunder .380 and concealed carry permit on her and as most concealed permit classes tell you, Shaneen alerted the police officer she had a gun in the vehicle. Shaneen was simply following what her training had to told her to do. Shaneen, with no prior criminal background, who says she had never been pulled over before, was arrested not only for illegally possessing a firearm, but also for possessing illegal ammo. Honesty lost Shaneen all three of her jobs, leaving her no way to pay bills, feed her children…much less pay for the lengthy and costly legal battle she faced. Shaneen spent 40 days in jail. After intense scrutiny and outrage, Atlantic County Prosecutor Jim McClain decided to allow Shaneen to enter the state’s Pretrial Intervention Program—avoiding prison and a conviction for the mother.

Shaneen’s case isn’t isolated. Many law-abiding and responsible handgun owners who carry face jail time and felony convictions for failing to understand the often-convoluted laws regarding concealed carry reciprocity and the interstate transportation of firearms.

It’s time to stop the harassment and unlawful breech against American’s rights and finally get this law passed.

In the last few years, Texas Senator John Cornyn has taken up the issue, presenting a bill every year to Congress. Cornyn’s Constitutional Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2013 bill narrowly missed passing by only three votes.

Introduced on Thursday, February 2015, the Constitutional Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2015 federally regulates concealed carry reciprocity laws, forcing all states to recognize out of state carry permits. Sen. Cornyn explains the law, “This operates more or less like a driver’s license. So, for example, if you have a driver’s license in Texas, you can drive in New York, in Utah and other places, subject to the laws of those states.”

Concealed carry laws vary widely between states and regulations can be extremely muddled and confusing. Even in my frequent travels between Texas and Arkansas, I have been worried about where in the vehicle my gun is legal. Out in the open in Oklahoma, concealed in Texas—even though words are my strong suit, understanding the language of law generally takes a doctorate degree, so instead of being freaked out every time you stop at a Starbuck’s to refuel during a road trip, a Constitutional Concealed Carry Reciprocity law makes it easier and safer to travel.

Even though the bill draws opposition from Mom’s Demand Action for Gun Sense in America and Michael Bloomberg-backed group Everytown for Gun Safety stating the bill interferes, “with states’ fundamental right to determine who is too dangerous to carry hidden, loaded guns in public,” the law will hopefully gain the majority support. It does not change a state’s right to restrict when and where a person can conceal carry. The purposed law does not enact a federal, national standard for concealed carry permits and rights—the Act protects the rights of legal concealed carry permit holders in every state.

The time is ripe to move the bill forward as more and more states vote for less strict gun laws this legislative session—as we see many states allow concealed carry on college campuses—Texas and Florida—and support permitless carry like in New Hampshire, West Virginia and South Dakota. Both the NRA and Gun Owners of America support Cornyn’s bill. The NRA says, “This legislation wouldn’t override state laws governing the time, place or manner of carriage or establish national standards for concealed carry. Individual state gun laws would still be respected. Concealed carry reciprocity would simply ensure that states honor permits issued by other states, just as they do with driver’s licenses. Importantly, if under federal law a person is prohibited from carrying a firearm, they will continue to be prohibited from doing so under this bill.”

Despite the timing being right, New York Senator Charles Schumer is already fighting the introduced bill, saying, “It is a nightmare for our law enforcement officers and the community and I will fight this legislation tooth and nail.”

We are never guaranteed gun owners rights will be protected in Congress, despite the house majority. Please write your representatives and tell them to support Senate bill 498 the Constitutional Concealed Carry Act of 2015 along with the corresponding House Bill H.R. 923.

What do you think about the Constitutional Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2015? Share your thoughts in the comment section.

SLRule

Introduced to shooting at young age by her older brother, Suzanne Wiley took to the shooting sports and developed a deep love for it over the years. Today, she enjoys plinking with her S&W M&P 15-22, loves revolvers, the 1911, short-barreled AR-15s, and shooting full auto when she gets the chance. Suzanne specializes in writing for the female shooter, beginner shooter, and the modern-day prepper. Suzanne is a staff writer for Cheaper Than Dirt!

View all articles by CTD Suzanne

Tags: , , ,

Trackback from your site.

The mission of Cheaper Than Dirt!'s blog, "The Shooter's Log," is to provide information-not opinions-to our customers and the shooting community. We want you, our readers, to be able to make informed decisions. The information provided here does not represent the views of Cheaper Than Dirt!

Comments (147)

  • John Chontos

    |

    Government shall pass no law restricting the right to bear arms. Period
    Anyone, not a felon should be able to carry open or concealed without restrictions. Gun free areas allowed only if armed protection provided.

    Reply

  • R D Fry

    |

    This is a horrible idea. The central government has no authority to regulate firearms, look at the Second Amendment. What the government gives it can take. Today it may say all states have to honor all other state permits, but tomorrow it may say no state may honor another states permit. If this passes there will a national concealed carry program (not state based) within 5 years. One cannot support the Constitution by violating it. This is a money maker for the NRA

    Reply

  • John Chontos

    |

    It is time to delete concealed carry permits. We all get background checks to buy handguns, and most states allow open carry without 8 hours of training, yet if I carry open with no problem, if I put on a jacket or a loose shirt, I am a felon. I can conceal in my house or car, but on my person, it’s different. Second amendment says right to carry Shall No Be Infringed!

    Reply

  • PeteDub

    |

    Bill,

    Your are wrong on both “uncertainty” and money.

    Federal judges can, do and will appoint lawyers to handle 42 USC 1983 cases without the wronged citizen having to pay legal fees. Instead, the court-appointed lawyers (often some of the best in the country) handle these cases under a sort of contingent-fee arrangement with the government becoming responsible for fees if the citizen wins and the lawyer / law firm taking the financial risk of losing (under their pro bono obligations). It happens all the time. The notion that money is a barrier to enforcing the law is simply wrong.

    On the other hand, it certainly does not help to DEFY an unconstitutional law and then expect to fight that uphill battle on someone else’s dime — which is what I think you are talking about in terms of “uncertainty.” But 42 USC 1983 is specifically designed to allow wronged citizens to fight against unlawful government behavior by taking the initiative — which negates the “uncertainty” excuse.

    For example, instead of taking the foolish approach of violating an unconstitutional law and then fighting from the WEAK position of a defendant in a criminal case trying to excuse behavior, a citizen with a double-digit or higher IQ would file a 42 USC 1983 case and ask for a court-appointed attorney to attack the unconstitutional law from the much stronger position of a wronged but thoughtful citizen bringing a civil-rights case.

    Where’s the “uncertainty” or “money” issue? All it takes is commitment, combined with middle-school civics knowledge of our justice system.

    People like me cannot do it for others, because we live in states where we elect government officials who actually DO obey the law. So, the solution depends on commitment on the part of the people who live in the states where they elect government officials who DON’T obey the law. I wish you people would stop whining about “uncertainty” and “money” and get off your lazy rear ends.

    Reply

    • DaveW

      |

      The BIGGEST abuser of getting the government to foot the bill is, of course, the ACLU. Every case they can get before a federal court and especially before the Supreme Court is shear profit for a pack of commie lawyers whose sole desire is to break every principle built into the Constitution in order to destroy America from within. Not one Founder would have taken things like freedom of speech to the extremes of defecating on the flag being acceptable. Not one Founder would have taken separation of church and state to the point of banning visible crosses in public arenas. And the list goes on. Not one Founder would have bastardized the Constitutional rights of the people to the degree the progressive socialist Democrats supported by the ACLU have gone. I can only surmise that they are all traitors. That should be obvious from the way that none of them can uphold their oaths of office in which they swore to ‘protect and defend the Constitution against all enemies foreign and domestic’. Then they support the economic invasion of the US States by illegal aliens, refuse to protect the people and the economy from such invaders, nor to protect us from possible terrorists by fighting to assure that they pass through immigrations with the lightest of inspections.

      Funds which were intended to assist our own citizens in need, no matter their heritage, politics, etc, have been siphoned off to support people here illegally (including all those Dreamers whose parents put them in their situation). Countless millions have gone to education, healthcare, regulations housing, and far more. Millions which were intended to help out own people. White people. Black people. Brown people. Americans all. Our nation already gives billions in foreign aid to the countries the invaders came from.

      I wonder if they would want me stopped at their front door if I was armed with an AK, and carried Molotov cocktails, or if they would want to stop me from taking over their homes, eating all their food, drinking all their alcohol, hoarding the remote control, wasting their utilities, and turning their neighborhoods into gang infested ghettos.

      Gotta get those swamp pumps running or we’ll be without a country before the swamp goes dry!

      Reply

  • John C

    |

    I find it interesting that there is very rarely a mention of retired peace officers and their right to carry nationwide under “HR218″, if they meet the qualifications of the Federal law.
    There is just as much confusion and misinformation about the Federal law and how/when/where it applies (and doesn’t) to retired peace officers. Many departments do little or nothing to properly equip those authorized CCWs under Federal law. They should! And retirees should insist their departments provide the required proper documentation!
    Mr. Haines comment relating to RECOGNITION of these CCW rights in locally is also generally correct and on point for both retired and others.

    Reply

  • Jennifer mossell

    |

    What are the laws for inappropriate behavior with the conceal carry permit in Indiana… I found something that states anyone with a conceal carry permit that has a pistol on their person and that is seen by any citizen no matter the reason accidentally or intended or no matter how unintentionally it was meant to be seen by any citizen will be arrested a gunpoint by police officers is this true for Indiana laws also please help someone neighbor keeps handgun in sight has made sure that I can and anyone else around can see that he has it on him… What can I do fearing for my safety

    Reply

    • indiana steve

      |

      I briefly looked through the info. that I have and cannot find any reference to what would happen if you were carrying concealed and accidentally revealed your gun. Since Indiana allows open carry without a permit I would assume that it would be no big deal as long as you are not in a restricted area. I can’t say for certain though. I’ll look further when I can and let you know if I find any reference to this.

      Reply

    • Robert Butterworth

      |

      Jennifer Mossell, the first thing You should do if You are too afraid to explain Your fear to that neighbor is explain it to the Local Police to, if nothing more, make it a matter of public record. Are You afraid of guns in general or just this Neighbor? Is He a criminal? Is he someone that will not only protect his home but His neighbors homes as well? Having a weapon visible has stopped so many Crooks and saved more Lives than You will ever know. You need to learn about his intentions before You convict him.

      Reply

    • G-Man

      |

      @ Jennifer mossell:

      Are you also afraid when you see him around the yard exposing his lawnmower, pruning shears, or yard machete? His gun is no different; it is just another tool all the same.

      However there is one big exception that differentiates his gun from all those other tools… the other tools are not expressly listed in the US Constitution as being lawful to possess.

      So the next time you see his gun, feel safe knowing he is lawfully carrying it. On the other hand, the next time you see him cutting the lawn or pruning bushes you may want to notify the local authorities as there is no express law giving him such right.

      Reply

    • indiana steve

      |

      i guess i mis-read your post. It sounds like Robert Butterworth gave you some good advice.

      Reply

  • PeteDub

    |

    @Don Haines

    That is not “theory” it is the LAW.

    Why do you suppose Gov. Christie intervened? Because his state and the officials involved (personally) were on the way to losing a TON of money in a federal civil rights lawsuit under 42 USC 1983.

    If a local LEO locks up a law-abiding citizen (with or without a “permit”) for being armed, the most likely result will be that the officer will lose his house and everything else he owns in a federal civil-rights lawsuit under 42 USC 1983. Any person who acts “under color of state law” to deprive anyone of a federal right (including the basic human right of armed self-defense) is personally liable under 42 USC 1983.

    The “federal government” (executive branch or legislative branch) cannot force the States to obey the law — only the judicial branch has that authority. Congress can pass whatever laws they want, and they mean basically nothing unless a court will enforce the law. And that includes the reciprocity act, which really just is a watered-down version of what the Constitution I fought for already says on the subject. We certainly don’t need Congress involved in this issue — all they can do is weaken rights we already have. This fight belongs in the courts, not in Congress.

    Reply

  • PeteDub

    |

    Correction:

    Under the US Constitution, specifically the 2nd and 14th Amendments, neither any state nor the federal government may require any law-abiding citizen to obtain government permission to exercise the basic human right of armed self-defense.

    Under the “strict scrutiny” test applicable to that fundamental right, the government may protect any legitimate interest with less restrictive means than requiring law-abiding citizens to obtain permission. One example of a less restrictive means would be to enforce existing laws criminalizing the behavior the “permit” laws supposedly are intended to prevent — don’t punish the many for the actions of a very, very few.

    States may, however, establish their own standards for issuance of an official document that serves to identify the holder thereof as a law-abiding citizen who has passed a background check. But the government has no power to require us to have a “permit” or “license” to carry constitutionally protected firearms on our person, specifically including handguns. Also, under the Full Faith and Credit clause, every state is required to accept any other state’s official document as proof that the holder is a law-abiding citizen who thus has the FEDERAL constitutional right to armed self-defense — reciprocity already is the law under the Constitution.

    There is no need for this new proposed federal law, which can only serve to limit our rights not enhance them. The effort put into the “Constitutional Reciprocity Act” would be better spent in court enforcing EXISTING LAW.

    Reply

    • Don Haines

      |

      PeteDub: While you may be right in theory, it doesn’t seem to work that way. You can just ask the PA lady who wandered into NJ with her pistol. That took a while to get her released and it took action by the Governor. I certainly don’t plan to travel to MD, CA or HI until they pass a Constitutional Reciprocity Act..
      You can be 100% right legally or in theory, but when the rubber hits the road, you may be sitting in a jail for quite a while. Some states won’t recognize out of state permits until forced to by the Federal Govt. And even then, I wouldn’t be surprised to see some local LEO locking someone up for carrying a firearm..permit or no.

      Reply

    • Bill

      |

      You make a very valid point … that the law and its application are often two entirely different subjects separated by a high wall of money and uncertainty.

      Reply

    • Samuel Cozad

      |

      I think PeteDub brings up some great points! I think you could use this information as an advanced “shot across the bow”. Organized gun rights groups could send messages to ALL Law Enforcement offices in EVERY state bringing up these points. And in big bold print mention that their officers will have 42 USC 1983 cases brought against them PERSONALLY if they arrest an individual who is legally able to carry a firearm. If Law enforcement officers knew they would be personally liable for arresting someone who can legally carry a firearm REGARDLESS of what their states laws say, they might think twice.

      Reply

Leave a comment

Your discussions, feedback and comments are welcome here as long as they are relevant and insightful. Please be respectful of others. We reserve the right to edit as appropriate, delete profane, harassing, abusive and spam comments or posts, and block repeat offenders. All comments are held for moderation and will appear after approval.

Time limit is exhausted. Please reload the CAPTCHA.

%d bloggers like this: