GROUPS PUSH FOR STATES TO HONOR CONCEALED-CARRY LAWS

[1/10/17]  Gun-rights groups have high hopes for a new bill looking to grant “national reciprocity” for Americans with concealed firearm permits, introduced just as President-elect Donald Trump prepares to take office.

The bill, put forward in the new Congress last week by Rep. Richard Hudson, R-N.C., would allow gun owners with a state-issued concealed-carry license to have that license recognized in any other state that allows concealed carry. This also would apply to states that recognize so-called “constitutional carry” where a license is not required for a concealed handgun.

The goal, Hudson says, is to prevent gun owners from getting caught in a patchwork of state-by-state laws.

“Your driver’s license works in every state, so why doesn’t your concealed-carry permit?” Hudson’s office said in an accompanying fact sheet.

The perils that concealed-carry permit holders can face recently were brought to national attention in 2014 when Shaneen Allen, a Philadelphia mother of two, was arrested and faced three years in prison after mistakenly entering New Jersey in possession of a loaded handgun.

When Allen was stopped by an officer for a traffic violation, she told the officer she had the gun and a permit for Pennsylvania, but was unaware her permit was not transferable. She was charged with unlawful possession of a weapon and hollow-point bullets. Allen was pardoned in 2015 by Gov. Chris Christie.

The bill has picked up the approval of a number of gun-rights groups.

“Law-abiding citizens should be able to exercise their fundamental right to self-defense while traveling across state lines,” said Chris W. Cox, executive director of the NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action. “This is an extremely important issue to our members and we thank Congressman Hudson for leading the fight to protect our rights.”

While the bill likely would sail through the Republican-dominated House, it may struggle to attract 60 votes in the Senate, which would require some Democratic support. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., told The Wall Street Journal in December that any version of a national reciprocity bill would be “dead on arrival” in the chamber. However, the Journal also reported that other Democrats believe some form of national reciprocity is likely to become law in this Congress.