With the election of Donald Trump as our president, gun rights advocates are getting all fired up at the possibility of a national concealed carry reciprocity bill. Carrying a concealed weapon has long been regulated by the individual states. In New York or Illinois, it is almost impossible to get a permit to carry a concealed weapon, while in Arizona every citizen has the right to carry concealed. Most of the other states fall somewhere in between. Utah, Idaho, and Florida issue fairly large numbers of concealed carry permits. California issues concealed carry permits at the discretion of the local Police Chief or Sheriff.
While many states recognize concealed carry permits issued by other states, several states do not. There was a notorious case a few years ago where Shaneen Allen, a woman from Pennsylvania, had been robbed twice at gunpoint and got a concealed weapon permit and began carrying a gun for self-defense. On her way to Atlantic City New Jersey, she was pulled over by a police officer for making an unsafe lane change. She decided to tell the officer that she was carrying a gun in her purse and that she had a concealed carry permit to do so. Allen arrested by police and taken to jail. She was offered a pleas bargain where if she pled guilty she would serve three years in state prison.
Allen decided to fight and declined the plea bargain. Her case went viral and soon was in newspapers, TV amd radio stations all over the country. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie soon caved in to the intense political pressure and granted Shaneen a full pardon. Still she served over 30 days in jail because New Jersey refused to honor her Pennsylvania CCW permit. Representative Richard Hudson of North Carolina has introduced The Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017 (HR 38) in the U.S. Congress. Dozens of congress members have signed on as co-authors of the bill and there is a good chance it will pass both the House and Senate and be sent on to President Trump who is expected to sign such a bill.
At present, every state recognizes the drivers licenses of every other state, even California. Likewise every state recognizes the validity of marriage licenses from every other state. HR 38 would simply require all states to recognize the concealed carry permits of every other state. Currently if you have a California CCW permit and drive from here to Salt Lake City wearing your weapon, you will be legal as far as the Nevada state line. Nevada doesn’t honor a California CCW permit. Once you make it as far as Utah, you are legal again because they do honor California permits. Unfortunately it doesn’t work in reverse. A Utah resident visiting California can be arrested for carrying concealed because California refuses to honor Utah permits. Where’s the logic in that?
Presently Concealed Carry Permits are a confusing mess of conflicting laws nationwide. Congressman Hudson’s Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017 would solve that mess. If you agree that such a law is a good idea, I suggest you contact your Congress member or Senator and let them know you support HR 38. You can find Congressman Jeff Denham at 209-579-5458 and you can find Congressman Jerry Mc Nerney at 209-476-8552. Hopefully we can bring some sense to a confusing and conflicting situation.
Until Next Week,