Friday, September 9, 2011

Interesting times

As my non-US friends may or may not be aware, even though carrying firearms is a fundamental protected right enumerated in our Constitution, and even though the great majority of states put very few restraints on that right, it's a difficult right to exercise outside your home state. Unlike marriage licenses* or even driver's licenses (which involve a much more demanding and dangerous task than the simple and safe act of carrying a gun), carry permits are only valid in the state in which they're issued, and in any state that's specifically agreed to honor it. The citizen is thus responsible for researching a complex web of reciprocity agreements before presuming to exercise his civil rights across a state line. The situation is confusing enough that websites and smart phone apps exist just to tell you where your permits are honored. Very many Americans will carry a domestic permit plus non-resident permits from other states with different reciprocities. It's time-consuming, expensive, and it burdens a civil right.

On Tuesday, hearings will begin on another attempt to fix this situation. The National Right to Carry Reciprocity Act, if passed, will make all carry permits valid in every state that issues carry permits. The only states whose status quo is threatened by this bill are those (like New Jersey) that technically have permits, but use "discretion" to issue them only as political favors to the connected. I won't shed a tear for their poor, subverted policies.

This isn't the first time the NRTCRA has come before the Congress. It's a perennial act that comes up every once in a while and is defeated; but it's gotten closer to passing each time.

This time, it's coming to the House with 242 co-sponsors. The House of Representatives, of course, has 435 voting members.

Will it pass the senate? Will the President veto a prominent piece of civil rights legislation, handing the NRA undeniable proof of his anti-gun position right before a close election?

[* - Those not contaminated with Gay Cooties, anyway...]


  1. The 58 "yes" votes are still in the Senate. At least two of the "no" votes were replaced by theoretical "yes" voters.

    Both numbers are within shouting distance of a veto override, SMS well within the numbers needed to attach to "must-pass" legislation.

    Which would mean, if this passed, you could buy a Florida dance ticket and take Elsie to Central Park, but not highland park

  2. I'll keep my fingers crossed. If we get this, then we can start bitching about how they shoulda used their 14th Amendment authority to mandate Constitutional carry in all 50 states and to get rid of FIDs. ;)

  3. Baby steps. The next one after this would be to mandate the states allow anyone who can pass a NICS check to carry under a real shall-issue time or better. Not a federal permit system, but a requirement that states issue.

  4. No, no, I understand. Frankly, I expect to see mandatory training stick around a lot longer than it should, too. It doesn't make much sense, but it reads well to people who know the issue only vaguely. The most likely next step is probably a SCOTUS ruling mandating shall-issue permitting, but leaving the number of hoops applicants must jump through and the scope of acceptable disqualifying conditions to be hashed out in future cases. I'll be thrilled with a stronger ruling, but they'll probably stick to a careful, narrow one. Once we get that explicit case, it may be possible to push CCW reform in the legislature, but I wouldn't bank on them sticking their necks out too far until voters in the liberal enclaves get more accustomed to the lawful carry that will follow the Court's ruling.

    If we can keep up our present inertia, I wouldn't be shocked to see nationwide Constitutional carry in my lifetime, but that's a pretty big if.

  5. Forcing nationwide reciprocity is actually A Big Deal. More so than forcing Shall Issue, actually. Once you and I can carry in Central Park, why can't an NYC resident?

  6. If I gave any other impression, it was not intended. I'm shocked that we're this close to so enormous a milestone on the path to reclaiming our 2A rights.

    Fiddly question: would the NRTCRA actually allow carry in Central Park? It would require that non-residents carry in accordance with the state's laws, and NY law requires that NY residents with carry permits get additional permission from the City before carrying in the City. Is NYC required to respect out-of-state permits the same way Albany is, or can they refuse to allow carry in the same way that a state can forbid carrying firearms in courthouses?

    The text of the act may make this clearer, but I expect we'll need a test case or two before a body can be sure it's safe.

  7. Since the point of the exercise is that permit-holders be able to carry anywhere a native permit holder can, it oughtn't matter. If a holder of a city permit can carry in Central Park, so can a holder of a FL ticket... One would hope, anyway.