General

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

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.

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 (44)

  1. I feel that if law abiding citizens have the right to carry in all states we would have less crime,if the criminals know that you may have a gun,they will think twice before trying to commit a crime and if more retired and off duty law enforcement officers could carry in any state some of the mass shootings could be stopped before more people are shot.

  2. Y’all can argue rights if you want! It’s lawful to carry is all I’ll say on that.

    If this becomes law, it will serve no purpose. The Federal Gun Free School Zone Act is still law and will make out of state travail with out committing a felony almost impossible.

    1. Who is us Stan? I’m not trying to convert you or them, whoever us is. However the fact that history confirms we are a christian nation. And the US constitution is the document that separates us from failed democracies throughout history.It will continue to preserve this nation. In fact if you will stop and concider the the U.S. is a republic with democratic process. It is so uniquely different. Those of the christian faith believe that it was the devine providential will of God. To establish this wonderfully unique nation. But that’s what’s so righteous about my God. It’s your free will choice to accept or reject what He offers. Unlike Communist, Muslim or other secular forms of government. That will kill you for expressing opposing views or beliefs. If that’s not divinely inspired liberty or freedom. Please let me know what is. And lastly, please concider we have the most powerful military on the planet. And it’s all volunteer! Why?

  3. Hey Mark, I couldn’t agree more that our freedom comes from God. But the 2nd amendment is a state’s sovereignty protection. And if you think the government can’t come after are guns. Please tell me how I can get them to stop spending my money on abortion. We live in a fallin world.

  4. Sorry Jeff, you’re wrong on this one. You said that the right to keep and bear arms is a federally granted right. You’ve fallen into the trap too many fall into because we don’t teach American History anymore. The right to keep and bear arms is NOT granted by the federal government. It’s granted by Almighty God, and is given to all men. All the Second Amendment does is prohibit the government from infringing upon that God-given right. Remember, what the government gives, the government can take away. What GOD gives, only GOD can take away!

  5. Let me see if I can explain what I see in this bill. To me, this is a move by government to make the 2nd amendment a means for them to gain control. If they can get laws passed which on the surface appear to all as a means for citizens to indeed get their constitutional rights enforced with a law, they can also pass a law to do away with your constitutional right. We are allowing our Rights to now be control by the very same government that now restricts it in so many ways, Don’t be duped! We are giving them the power to control our rights. We need to just get one law that says any State not comply with the Law of the land, our Constitution they lose all government funding, then we would have our rights back! Rights are not controlled by laws!

  6. Hey Mark, I did a little more research after reading your earlier post. The Hawaii PD did get the information there using to confiscate guns from the federal form 4473. It’s like the Russian investigation. Manipulation of the truth by law enforcement is unethical and a direct threat to the freedom’s granted by the constitution. These people should be exposed, so American’s can boycott communist Hawaii. If the authorities in Hawaii are willing to do this. There’s no limit to what they’ll do.

    1. Jeff, Please provide a reference to your source for the use of Form 4473. Every source I have researched says they used the Hawaii state gun registry. Use of the Form 4473 would probably violate federal law and provide a nice basis for a lawsuit. If this is the case, you should probably refer to the SAF.

      As I mentioned before, I think the Hawaii PD is following bad policy. I also believe that Hawaii laws violate citizens constitutional rights, but at the moment their laws do technically prohibit gun ownership for marijuana users, until a court rules them invalid.

    2. Hello Mark, I included my source in two earlier post. However the site edited my use of there name. My error for posting a competitors name. In response to your comment that I’m wrong. It won’t be the first or the last time. However I have been attacked on this site for expressing my belief that we are a christian nation. As a serious student of american history and a born again, spirit filled Christian. I believe that the constitution of the U.S. is a divinely inspired document. It is in fact why I believe this is the greatest nation on the planet. My grandfather was the first family member to sacrifice a lung to mustard gas in WW1. In service to this nation and the freedom’s it stands for. We are “One Nation Under God, Indevisable,with Liberty and Justice for All”! But it’s a secular government that we have allowed.

  7. Having to ask permission again with another PERMIT to enter some states is NOT freedom and STILL does not OBEY the 2A….as in SHALL NOT INFRINGE………so ANY compromise is UNLAWFUL…and ANTI LIBERTY AND FREEDOM…as Guaranteed by our Constitution….period….Semper Fi

    1. The 2nd amendment, guarantees the sovereignty of state’s rights. It’s the restriction that the constitution placed on a centralized government. To limit it’s power to dictate to the commonwealth as to specific liberties and freedom’s. The fact that conceal carry has boiled into a debate on the federal level, serves as a witness. To the fact that the federal government has gone rogue. The feds are over reaching, and the commonwealth is allowing it. When you vote for a congressmen or senator to send to Washington. Stop and ask yourself what you want them to say on your behalf.

  8. As a CCH instructor for the State of Kansas this is a good bill. The only thing that I would change is the training requirement to obtain a CCH be more standard across the nation. In Kansas you are required to attend an 8 hour class and pass an actual firing qualification. Other States, like Alabama you just fill out a form pay your fee and pass a background check and you get one.

  9. In my State of California, and City of Los Angeles, being a law abiding citizen with knowledge, training and proficincy with fire arms still does not allow me to follow the Second Amendment. So in fact, for me the Second Amendment does not exist an to be able to conceal carry for my protection is impossible.

  10. Fix nix should not be passed and concealed carr reciprocity shouldn’t be either reason I say this is it will cause people who have anxiety any amount of depression strip vets of their 2a rights and guess what if u have any of the problems I just said it called vein human all humans have in engineered into their body to get excited sad another word depressed and the conceal carry be constitutional carry cause with the present bill u still have to study another state laws before u travel there to make sure where u can carry just saying the share act should be what people should be focusing on right now if anyone wants to be selling more guns pass the share act so we can invest cause if it bad laws then I’ll be scared to buy a gun cause I be afraid it will be banned so pass the share act

    1. Good lord Bridgette, is this one long sentence? I don’t think I understand much at all of what you’re trying to say.

  11. It’s wonderful to see the straightforward, accurate comments by patriotic gun owners on this site. Very encouraging! But how do we translate are convictions to bring about tangible change? I received an email today that highlights what is happening in Hawaii. Police in Hawaii are now using the NICS system to track down citizens that have been prescribed legal prescription drugs. To request that these individuals turn in there guns. With the threat of confiscation if they don’t comply. Which means that NICS is a truly unconstitutional gun registry. We’ve known it all along, yet we allow elected officials to fill us full of lie’s. Maybe Larry Keane could investigate this misuse of power and report back. Folks our nation is in serious trouble. It’s beyond democrat and republican issue’s. If you care about the republic of the United States of America. It’s time to come together and demand truth and integrity from those we elect. And if they deliver anything less, get rid of them! We also need the men and women of Integrity that work in law enforcement, from the FBI to are local sheriff’s department. To step up and clean house right where they are at. It’s time for individual integrity.

    1. In Hawaii the problem is not NICS. I have seen those emails as well and they are wrong. The police are using the Hawaii gun registry not NICS to cross reference. And it is not legal prescription drugs, it is marijuana, for which Hawaii residents need to get a special card putting them on another registry. Regardless of Hawaii’s laws marijuana is illegal at the federal level. It is this illegality that the police were using as an excuse to round up the guns.

      To be clear, I do not condone or approve of the Hawaii police actions. They are wrong on many levels, but we need to be clear that these problems are strictly due to Hawaii’s laws and Hawaii’s police. They are not because of the NICS system or federal actions.

    2. Hey Mark, I’m gonna go out on a limb here. If your not law enforcement. Your representative of the group that needs to rethink the situation. If Hawaii voters approved the recreational or medical use of cannabis. And now the law enforcement community is using a state funded gun registry to execute a gun confiscation. Because cannabis is still illegal on a federal level. That is a very slippery slope. And does appear to be a governmental over reach. Furthermore, NICS is exactly what the constitution was written to protect individual states rights from. If the DC establishment decided that cannabis isl llegal on a federal level. But gun ownership was illegal on a federal level. But gun owners of america actually believe that the right of the people. To keep and bear arms is a federally granted right. Instead of a state’s sovereignty right. What protection do we have from centralized government seizure of our guns, be it democrats or republicans.

    3. Jeff, To be clear, as I mentioned, I think that Hawaii has this all wrong. It is wrong for them to require registration of all guns (handguns and long guns). It is wrong for them to try and confiscate the guns.

      As far as NICS goes, I do not believe it is needed either. I do not believe we should be required to seek any permission from the State or Federal level to own or carry firearms. I think the constitution is very clear on this, and if the legislators and judges treated the 2nd amendment as they do the rest of the Bill of Rights, especially the 1st, 4th, and 5th amendments, there would be no purchase or carry restrictions infringing on our 2A rights.

      My comment was made to point out, in this case, the problem mentioned was a State problem and not a NICS problem. The Firearms Owners Protection Act (FOPA) prohibits federal gun registries which is why all NICS records are legally required to be destroyed after use.

      This is not to say that Federal agencies have not tried to bend the rules and get around this, just that it is not the case in this specific instance.

      It is important when we discuss these matters we are factually correct.
      If not we risk taking ineffective or incorrect action and give our opponents ammunition. Hope this clarifies my point and answers any concerns you may have had. Thanks.

    4. Copy that, I don’t think we differ on the facts. We just express ourselves a little differently. No more establishment big government! Merry Christmas.

  12. JTW the oath taken by elected officials includes those responsibilities. Integrity is required to keep that oath. Therein lies the problem. Most political officials, lawyer’s and many in law enforcement. Think nothing of compromising there oath taken, for personal gain or power over someone they don’t care for. The constitution is not there problem.

  13. So with all this gun control bs stirring around again why have we not banded together and put into law that in order to be a politician of any level in this country you have to 100% support the laws and constitutional rights that exist today as well as the ones our forefathers gave us that you cannot and will not change because in that very same constitution we the American people have the right and will do so without second thought protect ourselves from any enemy no matter foreign or domestic

  14. 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!

  15. 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.

    1. “….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.

  16. 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!

    1. 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.

  17. 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.

    1. 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.

    2. 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 .

    3. 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.

    4. 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.

  18. 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).

  19. 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.)

  20. 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.

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