California would be forced to allow out-of-state gun owners to pack concealed handguns if a bill with strong GOP backing clears Congress and is signed by President Trump. He has likened concealed-carry gun permits to drivers’ licenses that should be honored across state lines.
California would be forced to allow out-of-state gun owners to pack concealed handguns if new federal legislation wins congressional approval and President Trump’s signature.
During the campaign, Trump issued a position paper on guns that noted he had a concealed-carry gun permit and added: “A driver’s license works in every state, so it’s common sense that a concealed carry permit should work in every state. If we can do that for driving—which is a privilege, not a right—then surely we can do that for concealed carry, which is a right, not a privilege.”
Now comes two bills–one by introduced by Republican Rep. Richard Hudson of North Carolina, the other by Republican Sen. John Cornyn of Texas–that would require such reciprocity of gun rights across state lines. Both bills are backed by the National Rifle Association.
“It’s a top issue for me because, as it is currently in America, there’s a patchwork of laws across the land and you have to do a lot of research ahead of time to make sure that you’re legal if you’re carrying your concealed firearm across state lines,” John Boch, co-chair of Trump’s Second Amendment Coalition, told NPR. “If we had national reciprocity, our concealed-carry licenses would be recognized with full faith and credit just as our driver’s licenses are to current Americans. And so we want to see that expanded to the concealed-carry licenses as well across the nation, so I can go to New York City or to Los Angeles and not have to do a mountain of research and maybe find out that my carry license is not recognized in one state versus another.”
But critics say the bill would go much further.
“Under Hudson’s bill, a California resident who cannot get a concealed-carry permit in California can easily get one from Utah, and then carry guns in California without ever setting foot in Utah, and not for some short duration like a tourist stay, but for the rest of his life and every day,” UCLA law professor Adam Winkler explained in Mother Jones. “The real impact of the Hudson bill is not to protect interstate travelers. It’s to require states with restrictive concealed-carry policies to allow their own residents to carry guns.”
Cornyn’s Senate bill, which already has more than 30 co-sponsors, differs from its House counterpart in that it still requires gun owners to obey the concealed carry laws of their home state. In other words, a Californian could not go to Utah and obtain a concealed carry permit for use back in California.
To avoid a filibuster, Senate Republicans will need to attract at least eight Democratic votes. Several Democrats signed on as co-sponsors to a 2015 version of Cornyn’s bill.
California has one of the most restrictive concealed-carry policies in the country.