Why shouldn’t a concealed carry permit issued by one state be honored by another, just as a driver’s license or photo ID card? The need for personal protection doesn’t diminish when traveling from Oregon to California, for example. In addition, the power of the Second Amendment should not be diminished for the resident of one state entering a neighboring state.
HR 822, passed by the House and now stalled in the Senate, would require states to do just that: it requires reciprocity between all states issuing concealed carry permits. According to the NRA, “The bill ENHANCES Americans’ right to self-defense by enabling millions of permit holders to exercise their right to self-defense while traveling outside their home states.”
However, anti gun groups, such as the Brady Campaign, refer to the bill as “so extreme it would allow dangerous, violent, and untrained people from out-of-state to carry loaded guns in your community, and your state would be powerless to stop them”. Not a single state which issues concealed carry permits issues them to known dangerous, violent and untrained people. In fact, applicants in every state issuing permits must apply through a law enforcement agency, undergo a background check, and often, complete firearms training.
If passed, HR 822 will negate the current system of cumbersome and unnecessary state restrictions, which system provides that permits by some states are accepted by some, but not all, other states. In addition, not all states issue permits to non-residents. The result is that it can be extremely difficult or even impossible to obtain a permit in a state in which you wish to travel.
To glimpse the current system, visit http://www.usacarry.com. The site allows visitors to populate a map and review state laws to check the legality of carrying concealed in a state other than the state issuing a permit.
Unfortunately, populating a map like the one on USA Carry’s site is essential for traveling gun owners, to ensure compliance with state law and thereby avoiding inadvertent criminal activity.
Take, for example, my most recent travel: from Gold Beach, Oregon, to Seattle, Washington, to Boise, Idaho, and back to Oregon. I frequently travel between my current office location in Oregon to my new Boise, Idaho office. Because I obtained a valid Oregon concealed carry permit, issued by the Curry County Sheriff in Gold Beach, I can legally carry my concealed weapon anywhere within the confines of the State of Oregon.
However, if I travel outside Oregon, the state to which I am traveling must either 1) specifically permit me to carry concealed under my Oregon license (16 states), or 2) allow me, as a non-resident, to obtain a permit (note that while 18 states have laws that “shall” issue permits to non-residents, some of these states impose restrictions other than merely passing a background check and completing firearms training, such as Oregon’s requirement that the applicant have legitimate business reasons or show other compelling reasons). If my intended state’s laws do not allow for either option, then I cannot legally carry my weapon concealed the moment I cross into that state.
And so, when traveling from Oregon to Idaho, I legally carry my weapon across state lines because Idaho recognizes my Oregon concealed carry permit and allows me full rights and privileges in Idaho. However, Washington law does not recognize my Oregon permit. If I kept my concealed weapon on my person (as usual) after crossing the Columbia River from Oregon to Washington on Interstate 5, I would be committing a crime and face arrest, jail, fines, and, the loss of my right to carry or possibly even possess a weapon.
On my recent trip to Seattle (where, as a side note, my ex-husband who was convicted of strangling me resides) to visit my fellow Northwest Gun Law Group lawyers, I therefore removed my concealed carry weapon from my person and rendered it inoperable and inaccessible to comply with Washington law.
Note, however, that if I resided in Idaho (by having an Idaho driver’s license instead of an Oregon driver’s license), and had obtained an Idaho concealed carry permit, I would not be able to travel to Oregon without also obtaining an Oregon concealed carry permit. Further complicating the matter for Idaho residents is that each Oregon county imposes different restrictions on non-residents who wish to apply to carry concealed.
This situation is best illustrated by another example. A gun owner living in Idaho, but whose work requires him to frequently travel to Oregon, was told he could not obtain a permit in Curry County, which he frequents, unless he owns or leases property there, or he is employed there in a manner that requires him to transport cash in that county.
He then turned to the sheriff of Malheur County where he regularly works, but the Malheur County Sheriff had yet a different imposition on applicants: a non-resident must reside in a neighboring county directly adjacent to the Oregon county issuing the permit (which he does not). So, this person was turned down for a concealed carry permit in the two Oregon counties where he frequently travels.
However, the sheriff in an unrelated Oregon county, which county this Idaho permit holder almost never visits, routinely allows non-residents to obtain a concealed carry permit, which is where he was finally able to obtain a permit.
This gun owner now has permits from three different states so he can lawfully carry his weapon while visiting a few of his neighboring states. Instead of obtaining a Washington permit, he obtained a Utah permit, because research revealed that Utah’s carry permit is honored by more states than Washington’s permit, and in addition, Utah’s permit will allow him to carry concealed in the State of Washington, unlike the Idaho and Oregon permits.
Sound complicated? It is, in a phrase, superfluous flummery.
The logic behind HR 822 is simple: you’re either a law-abiding citizen, or you aren’t. If you are (as proven by a background check) and you understand how to properly secure and use your weapon (as proven by completion of firearms safety course), then you should be allowed to obtain a permit in your home state, and that permit should be honored by other states which also allow residents to carry concealed weapons.
HR 822 will address the unnecessary imposition of significant criminal penalties on law abiding citizens for merely doing in one state as they have been permitted to do in another. Support the bill by contacting your U.S. Senators.