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July 31, 2017

ABA opposes national reciprocity for concealed carry gun permits

ABA President Linda A. Klein urged Congress July 20 to reject legislation, H.R. 38 and S. 446, that would require states to allow individuals to carry concealed weapons within their borders if the individuals are legally permitted to carry concealed weapons in their home state.

“We should not tie states’ hands when it comes to deciding who can carry guns within their borders,” Klein wrote to the chairs and ranking members of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security and Investigations and the Senate Judiciary Committee, which have jurisdiction over the legislation.

Klein maintained that the bills’ mandate of reciprocity for concealed carry permits issued by state law “offends deeply rooted principles of federalism where public safety is traditionally the concern of state and local government.” She explained that a state’s ability to consider safety factors – such as age, evidence of dangerousness, live firearm training, or criminal records − would give way to other states’ less stringent requirements.

She expressed concern that under the bills’ provisions a person with a history of domestic disturbances, who might be denied a concealed-carry permit in his or her own state, could simply obtain a permit in another state. In addition, there is little means for law enforcement or other officials to verify an out-of-state permit when permits are revoked, counterfeited or otherwise invalidated.

For these reasons, the ABA adopted policy in 2011 expressly opposing “federal legislation that would force states to recognize permits or licenses to carry concealed weapons issued in other states.” More recently, the U.S. Conference of Mayors also adopted a policy resolution June 27 opposing the current legislation or any similar proposals.


Back to the July 2017 Washington Letter