In a nutshell, national right-to-carry reciprocity is a movement to ensure that every law-abiding American’s fundamental right of self-defense doesn’t end at the state line of whatever state he or she might reside in. In fact, the Second Amendment doesn’t place any false boundaries on where law-abiding Americans can practice their right to keep and bear arms. But anti-gun politicians in some states think it is their job to do just that.
Can COVID-19 Spark National Carry Reciprocity?
With the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent run on goods like toilet paper, hand sanitizer and grocery items, Americans are realizing more than ever before that our very survival could rest in the hands of our nations truck drivers. They drive millions of miles to ensure the local Walmart or Costco has enough goods for us. The possibility that truckers could come under attack by violent criminals to steal their cargo, whether for themselves or for sale on the black market, once again points out the importance of national reciprocity.
Criminologist and author John Lott pointed something out nearly three years ago when a federal reciprocity measure was first introduced. Restrictive carry laws—like the one in Washington, D.C., New Jersey and some other locales that forbid nearly all law-abiding citizens from carrying firearms, even if they have permits from their home states—leave truckers helpless since their routes often cross those borders.
“It’s not easy for a truck driver to avoid troublesome state and city gun laws as he drives across the country with valuable merchandise,” Lott wrote. “He can quickly run into trouble in ‘may issue’ states such as New York, New Jersey, Illinois or California, which give out few permits and require applicants to demonstrate sufficient ‘need.’”
In fact, the dizzying array of laws across America leaves even the most informed gun owners confused. Where can and can’t they go when carrying a firearm? Consequently, many leave their firearms home to avoid potential problems with police; that effectively negates their right to bear arms because of conflicting laws from state to state.
States Recognize Right to Carry
So Congress continues to ignore the will of the people concerning national carry reciprocity. However, many states have taken the matter into their own hands. In late January, South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem signed into law Senate Bill 47, a “constitutional carry” measure.
Kentucky also passed a constitutional carry law. It fully recognizes the constitutional right of all law-abiding gun owners to carry a concealed firearm. With that law, Kentucky became the 16th state to recognize constitutional carry; it joined Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Idaho, Kansas, Maine, Mississippi, Missouri, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Vermont, West Virginia and Wyoming.
The patchwork of states where travelers from other states can’t carry is still daunting. However, many states have chosen to be part of the solution instead of part of the problem.
That brings us back round to national reciprocity. It’s time for pro-Second Amendment congressmen and senators to stop dawdling on the matter of reciprocity. Congress must write a good bill and push it through both the House and Senate. After that, Congress needs to present it to President Donald Trump to sign. He has supported such a measure since before he took office. His signing such a bill would ensure our truck drivers, as well as all other American citizens, can practice our rights as we freely travel throughout the United States.