Gun owners could carry their firearms across state lines without risking jail time under new legislation from the Senate’s No. 2 Republican.
Currently, gun owners who are permitted to carry firearms in their home state face difficulties traveling out of state with their guns.
The Constitutional Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act introduced Monday by Sen. John CornynJohn CornynGOP senators pitch alternatives after House pulls ObamaCare repeal bill Rand Paul takes victory lap on GOP health bill Senators push Trump on defense deals with India MORE (R-Texas) would require states to recognize gun permits from law-abiding citizens in other states. The bill has dozens of Republican co-sponsors, but would need support from at least eight Democrats in gun-friendly states to pass.
But critics say the legislation would weaken the nation’s gun laws.
“This bill strengthens both the constitutional right of law-abiding citizens to protect themselves and the power of states to implement laws best-suited for the folks who live there,” Cornyn said in a statement. “This legislation is an important affirmation of our Second Amendment rights and has been a top priority of law-abiding gun owners in Texas for a long time.”
Proponents of the concealed carry bill argue that responsible gun owners should not be faced with the choice of defending themselves or being arrested when they leave their state.
“Law-abiding citizens should be able to exercise their fundamental right to self-defense while traveling across state lines,” said Chris Cox, the NRA’s top lobbyist.
“The current patchwork of state and local gun laws is confusing and can cause the most conscientious and law-abiding gun owner to run afoul of the law when they are traveling or temporarily living away from home,” Cox said.
Cornyn’s bill is a companion to Rep. Richard Hudson’s (R-N.C.) concealed carry legislation issued in January, which has 159 co-sponsors in the House.