Last week's passage of the National Right to Carry Reciprocity Act by the U.S. House of Representatives was roundly cheered by the 150,000-member Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, an international trade group representing the interests of independent big rig owner-operators and professional truck drivers.
On Wednesday, Nov. 16, H.R. 822 passed the U.S. House with a decidedly bipartisan vote of 272 to 154. A Senate version has yet to be introduced.
"This bill will go a long ways toward ensuring the safety of truckers when they are out on the road," said Ryan Bowley, director of legislative affairs for OOIDA. "The strong bipartisan support is a clear sign that Second Amendment rights shouldn't stop at a state line, something that is well-known to truckers."
Upon further analysis, there are few professions that would be more affected by instituting handgun reciprocity across state lines than the one consisting of the dedicated men and women who move our goods across the country, primarily utilizing the Interstate Highway System.
Land Line magazine, the official publication of OOIDA, reports that as the national economy continues to struggle, more long-haul truckers are becoming victims of crime.Criminals are known to target truckers because of their valuable loads and the knowledge that they often carry large sums of cash. Criminals also know many truck drivers must travel unarmed because of differing state reciprocity laws, something that would change if H.R. 822 became the law of the land.
This is not the first time OOIDA has asserted its clout in support of Second Amendment rights. In July 2010, it joined a lawsuit with the National Rifle Association, Calguns Foundation, the Folsom Shooting Club and two individual truckers to challenge California's ban on mail-order ammunition sales that also required all purchases of "handgun ammunition" to be registered.
The lawsuit, filed in Sacramento's Eastern District Federal Court, alleged that the ban instituted with the passage of AB 962 violated the Federal Aviation Administration Authorization Act, which prohibits states and local municipalities from interfering with carriers' rates, routes or services. OOIDA contended the law placed an undue burden on shippers and would make shipping ammunition to the state much more difficult and expensive.
The suit led to Fresno Superior Court Judge Jeffrey Hamilton's Jan. 18, 2011, ruling that AB 962 was unconstitutionally vague on its face. The Court enjoined enforcement of the statute, so mail-order ammunition sales to California could continue unabated, and ammunition sales need not be registered under the law.