With the passionate support of the NRA and GOA, the "Conceal Carry Reciprocity Act" (HR 38) is currently under consideration by the House. In effect, the federal bill, if passed, and irrespective of State Constitutions, allows a qualified individual to carry a concealed handgun into or possess a concealed handgun in another State that allows individuals to carry concealed firearms. Gee, nothing illegal about that, right? And, of course, being able to conceal carry across State lines with impunity would certainly be more convenient. Yes, indeed.
Just ONE BIG PROBLEM, fellow gun owners: ANY federal law that would force States to recognize conceal carry permits issued by other States is 100% unconstitutional, plain and simple.
Think about it: 1) the underlying Constitutional purpose of the 2nd Amendment is to ensure that able-bodied persons in each State are suitably armed and trained to defend the liberty and sovereignty of the State as part of the Militia when called upon, and the critically important right to bear arms is predicated on that foundational principle; 2) while self-defense is a natural right, it is no more important than the Militia's ability to defend the liberty and sovereignty of the communities, for without one's ability and right to arm and defend himself, a Militia is impossible, and, finally; 3) IF CONGRESS CAN CONFER A RIGHT TO CARRY FIREARMS ACROSS STATE LINES, REGARDLESS OF STATE LAWS, THEN A FUTURE CONGRESS COULD JUST AS EASILY RESTRICT THE CARRYING OF FIREARMS THAT ONCE CROSSED STATE LINES, REGARDLESS OF STATE LAWS, AND IT COULD ESTABLISH A NATIONAL ARMS REGISTRY IN THE PROCESS.
Gee, doesn't sound so attractive anymore, does it.
The point is this: the federal government cannot constitutionally regulate gun ownership or State gun laws--nor should a free people who take their rights seriously approve such a frightening overreach.
Let the States work this out--NOT Leviathan!!! Since there is NOTHING in the Constitution which delegates such 2nd Amendment authority over the States by the federal government, let's leave well-enough alone. (Of course, we could push for an amendment to the Constitution permitting such federal authority, but I wouldn't advise it.)
What appears attractive can often kill you as well. So, were I you I'd carefully think about the downside of HR 38 before blindly supporting it. The feds have usurped enough State and individual powers already. Are you willing to surrender more? Once you give away your freedom, it's nearly impossible to get it back. My advice: be VERY VERY CAREFUL, gun owners and gun rights organizations.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------Postscript: a respondent enquired as to why a federally-mandated reciprocity law would constitute infringement. My answer: The 2nd Amendment was intended by the States and their citizens to restrict the feds in such matters, principally to safeguard State sovereignty from both foreign invasion and national tyranny. It was not intended to be a restriction on the States. That said, one needs to carefully look at one's State Constitution to ensure that one's 2nd Amendment rights are unabridged. Accordingly, any State Statute which purports to require a permit before one may carry a gun is probably unconstitutional under that State's Constitution, but, in any case, is certainly unconstitutional under the federal Constitution. Why? Because Congress may lawfully require able-bodied male Citizens to acquire firearms and ammo and to receive training by the Militia, this per the Militia Act of 1792. However, this 1792 Act DOES NOT permit gun control/regulations by the feds. So, this is why reciprocity is a State function and why reciprocity should be handled on an inter-State basis without federal intrusion. I hope this explanation helps. The NRA and GOA, of which I am a member, are very myopic with respect to the downside of HR 38. Reciprocity is a pretty bauble maybe, but with very sharp edges.