The Constitutional Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act, which would recognize the right of law-abiding, licensed concealed-carry-permit holders to carry firearms across state lines, has been introduced in both chambers of Congress. Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) is the lead sponsor of the measure in the upper chamber, while Rep. Marlin Stutzman (R-IN) leads the effort in the House.
"This operates more or less like a driver's license," Cornyn, the second-ranking Republican in the upper chamber, told The Hill newspaper last week. "So, for example, if you have a driver's license in Texas, you can drive in New York, in Utah and other places, subject to the laws of those states."
The bill is widely supported by Second Amendment advocates and organizations, including the National Rifle Association. The legislation respects the rights of individuals who possess concealed carry permits from their home state or who are not prohibited from carrying concealed in their home state to exercise those rights in any other state that does not prohibit concealed carry.
"The current patchwork of state and local laws is confusing for even the most conscientious and well-informed concealed carry permit holders. This confusion often leads to law-abiding gun owners running afoul of the law when they exercise their right to self-protection while traveling or temporarily living away from home," said Chris W. Cox, executive director of the NRA-ILA. "Senator Cornyn's legislation provides a much needed solution to a real problem for law-abiding gun owners."
A similar bill introduced by Sen. Cornyn's came just three votes shy of passing in 2013, when Democrats still controlled the Senate. The Republican House has passed the concealed-carry bill in the past, by a comfortable margin. While supporters concede that President Barack Obama is unlikely to sign the bill should it reach his desk, successfully passing the legislation through Congress would represent a significant moral victory for gun owners and Second Amendment advocates.
"Our fundamental right to self-defense does not stop at a state's borders. Law abiding citizens should be able to exercise this right while traveling across state lines," said NRA-ILA's Cox. "This is an extremely important issue to our members and we thank Senator Cornyn for leading the fight to protect our right to self-defense."