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Vitter To Introduce Concealed Carry Reciprocity

Gun Owners of America E-Mail Alert
8001 Forbes Place, Suite 102, Springfield, VA 22151
Phone: 703-321-8585 / FAX: 703-321-8408
http://www.gunowners.org/

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Senator David Vitter (R-LA) is planning to introduce a concealed carry
reciprocity bill next week.

Senator Vitter had been working closely with Gun Owners of America to draft
and file a reciprocity amendment a few weeks ago, but that amendment,
unfortunately, never saw the light of day -- thanks to powerful opponents
inside the Senate.

However, Sen. Vitter has continued undaunted and last week sent a Dear
Colleague letter to his fellow senators, asking them to cosponsor his
forthcoming bill, the "Respecting States Rights and Concealed Carry
Reciprocity Act."

The Vitter bill treats concealed carry permits much the same as drivers'
licenses, where one state's license is recognized in all other states.

In addressing the matter of reciprocity, the first concern of GOA and Sen.
Vitter is that it be done constitutionally and that it respects states'
rights.

Unlike another senate reciprocity measure, S. 388, Vitter's bill does not
establish "national standards" for concealed carry. It simply
says that
states that allow concealed carry must recognize the CCW permits of other
states.

Vitter's bill also respects the rights of states that allow concealed carry
without a permit. Citizens of Vermont and non-license holders in Alaska are
allowed to carry concealed without a permit. Under the Vitter bill, these
states would be recognized in the same manner as states that do issue
permits.

States that do not allow concealed carry at all are not forced, under the
Vitter bill, to recognize out-of-state permits. There are currently two such
states, Illinois and Wisconsin. While it is deplorable that these states
refuse to trust their citizens with firearms, this is an issue that has to
be dealt with at the state level.

Citizens should not be forced to sacrifice their right to self-defense at
the state line. The Vitter bill will allow more Americans to defend
themselves away from their home state.

Action: Please urge your two Senators to become original cosponsors of the
Vitter "Respecting States Rights and Concealed Carry Reciprocity
Act." You
can visit the Gun Owners Legislative Action Center at
http://www.gunowners.org/activism.htm to send your Senators the pre-written
e-mail message below.

----- Prewritten letter -----

Dear Senator,

Senator David Vitter is planning to introduce a concealed carry reciprocity
bill next week.

The bill, the "Respecting States Rights and Concealed Carry Reciprocity
Act," will allow citizens who are permitted to carry concealed in
their home
state, to carry in all states that allow concealed carry.

This bill does not establish national concealed carry standards, but takes a
sound constitutional approach that respects states' rights.

I urge you to contact Senator Vitter and become an original cosponsor of
this legislation.

Sincerely,
 

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This is interesting. I'd like to see the proposed text, but they probably haven't finished drafting it.

I wonder if the bill will only require reciprocity for resident permits. If it applies to non-resident permits, then effectively every state (except WI and IL) will become a shall-issue state. That would be great for residents of may-issue states. A CA resident could get a UT (or whatever) permit and be legal to conceal at home.

That might backfire, though, since it could prompt may-issue states to repeal their CCW programs entirely and join WI and IL in the no-issue category. I don't think states are likely to be as bothered by having to honor permits of visitors, since there aren't so many, but if they suddenly find that their own populations can easily get permits that they're required to honor, they may find that scary.

So it's probably better if it only requires reciprocity for resident permits.

The other thing that may cause states to complain is the issue of standards. One stated goal of the bill is to allow residents of AK and VT, who don't need a permit at home, to carry in other states without a permit so this would require states to allow CC by individuals with no training or background check. Although states also have varying requirements for driver licensing, there are no analogous states that require NO license, so that's untested ground.

Maybe the bill should only require reciprocity with states that have analogous or better formal requirements for issuance? That might actually force some of the may-issue states to establish some formal requirements, rather than the status quo which is that you have to be the Sheriff's buddy or nephew. Once their legislatures have agreed on a specific set of requirements, it should make it easier for pro-gun legislators to argue that they may as well go shall-issue. Of course some of the blue-state legislatures would establish extremely high standards.

I don't think the bill has to address the issue of relative standards to be constitutional, though. Arguably, states should already honor permits from other states, under the "Full Faith and Credit" clause of Article IV in the Constitution, which requires states to honor the public acts of other states. If a state allows specifically-authorized citizens to carry concealed, then it should trust other states to decide which of their citizens should have that authorization. I think WI and IL can still argue that since their law doesn't allow citizens to carry concealed, at all, they do honor other states' permits but their law has no provision for allowing the holders to CC.

Turning to the political question of whether or not this can pass, if senators and congressmen honor their own states' stances on the issue (which isn't what will happen, but it's a reasonable starting point), then all of them from shall-issue states should vote for it. If that happened, the bill would sail easily through the Senate and the House. In the House the vote would be 278 to 157 and in the Senate it would be 88 to 22. The House vote would be just shy 2/3, though, so not veto-proof.
 

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Sounds like a winner to me.

Tarzan
 
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