Federal Concealed Carry Legislation
Federally Mandated Concealed Carry Reciprocity (H.R. 38/S. 446): These bills would override state permitting laws that limit who can carry a loaded hidden gun in each state and would force states to allow individuals to carry guns who are not qualified to do so under their own laws. This extreme legislation is a dangerous encroachment on individual state efforts to protect public safety, and it would effectively nullify duly enacted state laws and hamper law enforcement efforts to prevent gun violence. This legislation would create a race to the bottom, allowing states with the weakest laws the furthest reach.
Mandated reciprocity would effectively override the permitting requirements of individual states, such as requiring safety training or prohibiting permits for people with multiple convictions for violent misdemeanors or drug or alcohol abuse problems. Further, there is currently no system to verify the validity of concealed carry permits across state lines, which means that law enforcement could not confirm whether an individual is carrying a weapon legally or creating a risk to public safety.
New Research Brief Outlines ‘Facts vs. Fiction’ Relevant to Federal Concealed Carry Reciprocity Legislation
The Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research, in partnership with the Bloomberg American Health Initiative, released a policy brief on November 16th that puts forth facts related to concealed gun carrying in public spaces. It also contains brand new polling data that show more than 80% of gun owners and Republicans want higher safety standards for concealed carry.
This brief coincides with bills recently introduced in both houses of Congress (H.R. 38; S.B. 446) that would mandate concealed carry reciprocity.
Because of the potential threats of public gun carrying, states have historically regulated the carrying of concealed firearms by requiring a permit to carry a concealed weapon and basing the issuance of these permits on whether applicants met training, safety, and even personal character requirements.
Currently, each state has its own rules about which carry permits, if any, from other states it will honor. But under concealed carry reciprocity, for example, Maryland — a state that allows public safety officials to use some discretion to issue or deny a concealed carry permit — would be required to honor a permit granted by the state of Utah — a state that grants permits without discretion, even to out-of-state residents.
The policy brief addresses a number of arguments that supporters of RTC laws in general, and concealed carry reciprocity in particular, make in support of these laws. The policy brief corrects these assumptions, and puts forward the following conclusions, supported by public health research:
· State Licenses to Carry Concealed Firearms are Not Like Drivers’ Licenses
· In RTC States, Many Persons with Criminal Histories May Legally Carry Concealed Guns
· RTC Laws Appear to Increase Violent Crime
· Civilians Rarely Use Concealed Guns to Defend Themselves from Criminal Victimization
· National Crime Victimization Survey Data Indicate No Clear Safety Benefit to Using a Gun in Defense During a Criminal Attack
· The Vast Majority of Mass Shootings Do Not Occur in “Gun Free” Zones
· The Second Amendment Does Not Prevent States from Regulating Who May Carry a Weapon in Public
· 83% of gun owners and 83% of Republicans Want Much Higher Safety Standards for Concealed Carry Permit Holders than are Required in Right-to-Carry and Permitless States