H.R. 38: The Truth About Concealed Carry Reciprocity

By Larry Keane published on in Concealed Carry, Legal

The Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017, H.R. 38 was one of the first bills introduced in the 2017 legislative session. This week, it was passed by the U.S. House of Representatives with a vote of 231 to 198. Not everyone sees H.R. 38, and it associated FixNICS language as a positive. However, it is unclear how much of the dissent is a result of being uninformed or being a victim of disinformation.

Brown handled .38 in a light tan Galco holster

This .38 carries well in a Galco holster. The .38 Special is a realistic minimum for concealed carry.

With U.S. House passage of H.R. 38 this week, as amended to include the Fix NICS Act, we are moving toward the one reform that will do the most to help keep firearms out of the hands of those who should not have them. And, despite what some have falsely claimed, it will do so while not interfering with the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding Americans.

Second Amendment Rights Don’t End at State Borders

The Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act will do several things. First and foremost, it will ensure that Second Amendment rights don’t end at state borders. It will allow authorized handgun owners who are legally permitted in their home state to carry a concealed firearm in others states that also allow concealed carry. Given that all 50 states, and the District of Columbia, now have some form of concealed carry permit, it would eliminate a dangerous patchwork of laws that concealed carry permit holders must navigate across state lines.

The sponsor of the legislation, U.S. Rep. Richard Hudson (R-N.C.) summed it up when he said, “This is just simple, common-sense legislation that says if you’re a law-abiding citizen we’re not going to turn you into a criminal just for crossing an invisible state line.”

Burden of Proof Lies With the States

The legislation would also shift the burden of proof where it belongs, on the state, to demonstrate a permit holder didn’t comply with their state laws. When it comes to federal lands, concealed carry permit holders would be permitted to carry concealed firearms in the National Parks System, National Wildlife Refuge System and lands administered by the Bureau of Land Management, Army Corps of Engineers and Bureau of Reclamation.

States would maintain the authority to set their own firearms laws and regulations for issuing permits in within their borders. The legislation provides that a permit holder who carries in another state must abide by that state’s laws and regulations when it comes to carrying concealed. Residents of states that passed Constitutional carry laws would be able to carry in another state with Constitutional carry without having to obtain a permit.

Ranger II with Holster

The Ranger II with Holster delivers a vertical carry solution.

Opposition and Outlandish Claims

That hasn’t stopped opponents of gun rights and firearms from lashing out, sometimes with outlandish claims of what is to come if the legislation is eventually signed into law.

Claim: The U.S. Conference of Mayors, including no less than anti-gun Mayors Bill de Blasio of New York City and Rahm Emmanuel of Chicago, claims concealed carry reciprocity would “remove local governments’ ability to maintain sensible gun standards, and keep a proper vetting process in place …”

Correction: This is just plain wrong. As previously stated above, the bill would allow states to set their own laws and regulations. If a state requires a permit to carry concealed, and a firearms owner comes from a state that has Constitutional carry, that person would be required to obtain a permit from their home state before carrying a firearm concealed in their neighboring state with stricter concealed carry laws.

Claim: Michael Bloomberg’s Everytown for Gun Safety claims the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act would “make our communities less safe.” That chicken-little sky-is-falling hyperbole has been tried before. It wasn’t’ true then, and it just isn’t true now. As individual states passed laws permitting law-abiding gun owners to carry concealed, predictions of a cataclysm were never borne out.

Correction: The opposite has been true. More than 16.3 million law-abiding Americans have concealed carry permits. This year, more than 1.83 million alone were issued. John Lott of the Crime Prevention Research Center reported violent that crimes fell, and at a considerable rate. Lott’s study also found that concealed carry permit holders were actually more law-abiding than the population in general, with permit holders committing crimes at even lower percentages than police officers.

Pick the right equipment

Left: Drawing fast is one thing, but movement while doing so is a skill everyone should possess. Have you worked on offline movement? Right: Carrying a gun might be uncomfortable at first, but after a few weeks, you will rarely ever notice the gun. You will want to find a carry holster that is comfortable and allows you to carry a gun you would want to fight with.

Claim: Former U.S. Rep. Gabby Giffords group has been particularly vocal in her groups’ opposition to permitting Americans to exercise their Second Amendment rights. Her group issued a press release following the House of Representatives’ passage, claiming the legislation would “let people with violent criminal histories carry guns.” This is a patently false claim.

Correction: Individuals with a violent criminal history are not permitted to buy a firearm, much less carry that firearm concealed in public. States issuing permits run the same FBI National Instant Criminal Background Check (NICS) on applicants just as they do on anyone purchasing a firearm. If that individual isn’t allowed to buy a firearm because of a prohibiting factor, including felony convictions, mental health adjudication, domestic violence convictions and a fugitive from justice, among other disqualifying grounds, that person would be barred from receiving a concealed carry permit.

The irony is, this Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act, in addition to providing America with an increasingly law-abiding armed citizenry, would also strengthen background checks by incentivizing states to submit criminal and mental health records of prohibited persons.

Advancing to the U.S. Senate

There is still work to be done. A companion bill is still being considered in the Senate, where antigun Senators have vowed to do everything in their power to block the legislation. And, gun control groups like Mayor Bloomberg’s Everytown for Gun Safety are already lining up to file lawsuits to thwart the exercise of the Second Amendment.

Where do you stand on National Concealed Carry Reciprocity? Share your answer in the comment section.

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Comments (44)

  • Kevin

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    I am a strong 2nd Amendment supporter and a resident of the People’s State of New York. Would like to think that this law is a possibility but I know Prince Andy Cuomo will immediately file a law suit to stop implementation. That is if it even survives the Senate! However hope springs eternal!

    Reply

  • steve

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    What the hell happened to the 1902 Dick Act?

    Reply

  • Andrew Nappi

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    There is no such thing as a “Second Amendment Right.” The 2A was written as a prohibition on the federal government by the states to prevent that government from removing what they already had in their sovereign constitutions-recognition of the natural right to defend against governmental oppression,defense of their state and self defense. The amendment makes every federal infringement upon RKBA illegal.Those federal laws in effect are all usurpations of power regardless if upheld by federal courts or not. Federal firearms laws should not be recognized by the states, and states should further, prevent their law enforcement agencies at every level, their courts and agents from assisting federals in the enforcement of these “laws.” This is what free states did with the fugitive slave acts and this anti commandeering principle has been supported in every legal challenge since 1842.
    The problem with national reciprocity is two fold. First, there is zero authority in the Constitution for the federals to force states to recognize ccws. None. It isn’t in the 2A, and it isn’t in Full Faith and Credit. It’s prohibition is found in the 9th and 10th amendments. The only proper way for an NR scheme to work is via compact such as is done with DLs., or by individual arrangement as is being done now.
    The second issue, and more important danger, is having federals involved in any way with ccws. Most gun groups and indeed most individuals are not familiar with the federal REAL ID Act, a republican initiative that for compliant states have turned over the design of, and identification necessary for DLs to federal standards. Now, this was in reaction to the 911 bombers obtaining flight lessons in FL using DLs for ID. IMAGINE what the federals will do with CCWs with a democrat majority after the next handgun attack in a school or church, or anywhere with multiple deaths. Even with a republican majority, FIXNICS, an unconstitutional law as is NICS, has been attached to the bill. When the left has both chambers and the executive, these CCWs are going to come under attack as did DLs. They will undergo design requirements for biometrics, they will be placed in a registry and ultimately, the purchase of a handgun will require a federal license. Anyone who does not think this will happen is whistling past the graveyard.
    Supporters of national reciprocity will rue the day they supported this backdoor gun control scheme. Firearms supporters should grow the balls of the weed people who have effectively neutered federal marijuana laws, (also constitutional) in most of the country. These fights to kill federal over reach are state issues. A federal solution only further empowers the federals. What they give, they will take away.
    Don’t fall for the hype, don’t be so blinded by the marketing phrase “my second amendment rights” that you are oblivious to the real danger being posed by this bill.

    Reply

    • Hide Behind

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      Thank you. You stated way better than I, why I oppose this bill.

      Reply

    • Charles

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      “….weed people who have effectively neutered federal marijuana laws…”
      Hah! what have you been smoking? The “weed people” have simply opened up a huge portion of the populace to be retaliated against by the Federal government for circumventing lawful statutes.
      Not that I agree with that by any stretch, but the medical cannabis patient registration rolls is a self-incriminating trap that is just starting to rear it’s ugly head.

      Reply

  • chris in tennessee

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    In my opinion, Our Constitutional rights as law abiding citizens gives me the right to protect myself and others in all of the united states period. The fact that our federal taxes pay their salary also lets me know that the government is working for me not me working for the government. So, For them to tell me when or where I can protect my family is ridiculous to me. Police do all they can with what they have to work with and on small budgets, but until they can guarantee all of the citizens 24/7 protection, it will be up to us as free people to protect ourselves. If the government funded by us can’t see that, then we should fire them, as they are as dangerous as the criminals that we guard against. Just My opinion, For What It’s Worth!

    Reply

  • Larry

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    Why can’t Trump line Item Veto the H.R. 4477 (fixNICS) portion?

    Reply

    • Mark

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      Because the president does not have line item veto power. Governors of many States do have that power but the president does not.

      In Clinton v. City of New York, the Supreme Court found that the line-item veto violated the Presentment Clause of the Constitution, which says that the president does not have the power to unilaterally amend or repeal legislation passed by Congress.

      Reply

  • Jeff

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    HR 38 will be challenged. Rahm, Doomberg, Moonbeam and the likes are hard at work already. It will not eliminate state specific conditions. In as much, the burden of proof is backed with taxpayers money. The individual ccw citizen will pay his own legal costs. In addation, how many people actually believe that outlandish claims won’t be made. It’s the new norm for the political environment that we live in now. I won’t be shocked if liberal femi-Nazi’s attempt to make it a form of sexual harassment. And last but not least, did someone correct the unconstitutional NICS system? Face it, the 2nd amendment is a political football and gun owners are left alone in the middle. This is more posturing by politicians and for politicians. I will be swift to admit I’m wrong should hell freeze over.

    Reply

  • JDH

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    If it only works if you have a permit in our own state then if you live in NH, CT, NJ, HI, CA then you’re screwed.

    Reply

    • DJ

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      That’s right. An American citizen that is CCW in another state will be able to exercise their 2nd amendment rights in ‘your’ state (Calif for me) where we will be continually denied our constitutional right.

      Reply

    • Barry Busch

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      You listed NH. I think you meant NY. New Hampshire will issue a non-resident permit to anyone in possession of a cc permit from another state. That permit is accepted by any state that has a reciprocal arrangement with NH. I have such a permit .

      Reply

    • Mark

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      NH? NH has constitutional carry as well as a shall issue permit system. Did you mean MA or maybe NY?

      You should add MD and RI to the list though.

      Reply

    • LOP

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      I agree! I have a nonresident permit but not one with my own state. Based on what I am reading this Bill wouldn’t allow me to conceal carry in any other state including my own state.

      Reply

  • Darius Medea

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    I have always been a proponent of “Constitutional Carry”. The 2nd Amendment prohibits the government from putting ANY roadblocks that would prevent carrying a weapon. I agree with the proscriptions against gun ownership and possession for convicted criminals, mentally compromised individuals (who isn’t able to comprehend the seriousness of carrying a weapon).

    Reply

  • DaveW

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    As we all know, CA, and others, limits what arms are available to CA residents.

    My first question is, does this open the door as to which firearms will be prohibited in CA? My daughter lives in OH and is CCW cleared. She travels to CA for Christmas and carries one of umpteen firearms a CA resident can’t buy like Bond Arms new 9mm or Kimber’s Micro9. Now, if she is permitted to carry one of those in CA, why can’t I purchase one?

    Second, as is typical of CA, will the state be able to add new restrictions to state carry limitations in order to limit what out of state CCWs are permitted to do? (I do not trust CA not to pull some tricky move.)

    Reply

    • Dave P.

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      Commie fornia needs to boot out the lefties

      Reply

  • Charles

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    Our author needs to address the problems associated with the piggy-backed bill H.R.4477 -fixNICS- hah! that we ALL want to understand more succinctly.
    There is little possibility that a fast-tracked Fienstien/Schumer gun control bill doesn’t have BIG problems lurking in the legalese.
    The explanation of H.R.38 is appreciated (even though all point were leftist made-up hogwash) but the devil-in-the-details of H.R.4477 is what truly matters.

    Reply

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