Just What Does National Reciprocity Mean?


The media has not been great about explaining what national concealed carry reciprocity means. And for non-gun people, it can be confusing. Newsweek recently published a great article breaking everything down in an easy to understand way. Let’s hope that non-gun people read it! Let’s look at the laws here.

In early March, Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (Republican), the second most powerful Republican Senator behind Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, introduced Senate Bill 446, the “Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017.” this bill, introduced into the Senate, would require states that issue concealed carry gun permits to recognize concealed carry permits issued by other states. North Carolina Republican Richard Hudson introduced a similar bill into the House, HR 38, “The Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017,” on January 3 this year.

Similar legislation has been blocked in the past. But now, Republicans control both the House and the Senate, so the bills have their best chance ever of passing.

Every state including Washington DC allows some form of concealed carry. Some states, like New Jersey, Maryland, New York, California and Hawaii, force residents to show that they have a “justifiable need,” “good cause,” or “substantial reason” to get a permit. States also are allowed to set their own limits on where guns can be carried or not carried, such as schools, places where alcohol is served, sporting arenas, hospitals and government buildings. Some states require proof of having passed a training class before they will issue a concealed carry permit. Some don’t have this requirement.

Thirty-nine states require a state-issued permit to legally carry a concealed weapon (in public) within the bounds of that state. Eleven states (Alaska, Arizona, Idaho, Kansas, Maine, Mississippi, Missouri, New Hampshire (as of just recently), Vermont, West Virginia and Wyoming) do not require a permit. Some states, like Alabama, are considering passing laws allowing permit-less carry. Some of these states do not allow non-residents with concealed carry permits to carry in their state. Some states do not permit you to transport a gun unless it is locked in the trunk and unloaded. Some states do not restrict how a permitted weapon may be transported by vehicle.

The hodge-podge of conflicting laws is one reason that gun rights supporters want a concealed carry national reciprocity system. Our argument is that a driver’s license works in every state. If you demonstrate that you can responsibly drive a car in your home state, then every other state in the nation lets you drive there. How hard is that? We want the same system for gun ownership. We have no problem undergoing some training–we are always talking about how important safety training is regardless of whether or not your state requires training or not. That’s not a big deal. But let us get our permit in California and drive across the country to New York and be able to follow the same laws the whole way.

Let’s get these laws passed, politicians.