Lawmakers are considering an important bill which, if enacted, will allow citizens to exercise their Second Amendment Rights nationwide. H.R. 822, the National Right to Carry Reciprocity Act of 2011, was introduced this year in the Senate as S. 2188, the “National Right-to-Carry Reciprocity Act of 2012. The Bill requires all states to honor licenses to carry firearms issued by other states. The House version passed in the House last year with, by a vote of 272 in favor and 154 opposed. Critics of the Bill believe that individual states should decide for themselves who can carry a firearm and who cannot. However, since the 2nd Amendment clearly applies to the states, this argument is not very convincing.
Currently, some states have agreements to recognize firearms licenses issued by other states. This is why Utah and Florida Concealed Weapons Permits are so popular. Florida and Utah CCW permits are recognized by multiple states, so they allow holders to carry firearms in a variety of states without having to obtain licenses in those states. The Philadelphia Police Commissioner has complained that a person who has been denied a Pennsylvania Concealed Carry Permit could use the National Right to Carry Act to circumvent the denial by obtaining a Non-Resident Florida CCW permit, which would allow him to carry firearms in Pennsylvania. Another complaint he had was that there is no provision in Bill for establishing a nationwide database of license holders. This means that police officers would have difficulty checking on the validity of out of state firearms licenses, especially after hours.
Critics of the Legislation overlook the fact that driver’s license are reciprocal, meaning that a person on a cross country trip does not need to obtain a driver’s license in each state that he or she drives through. Instead, he can rely on the driver’s license issued by his home state to drive in other states, so long as his right to drive is not suspended or revoked in the other states. The same principle should apply to licenses to carry firearms.