On December 6th 2017 The US House of Representatives Passed HR 38 – Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017.
My intention is to keep this page updated until the bill either becomes law or is defeated.
THIS PAGE WAS LAST UPDATED ON: 12/8/17 (latest update is two answers to questions about the Fix NICS Title II part of the bill) (Also added the link to contact your senator)
BILL CURRENT STATUS: PASSED HOUSE. Next Step is to go through the US Senate (Contact Your Senator here)
Link to Bill: H.R.38 – Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017
A quick Vocabulary Thing. At several points below on this page I use the phrase “Carrying a firearm under this bill” or something very similar. That is to be interpreted as meaning they have a valid permit from any state or they are from a state where no permit is required to carry concealed.
Question: What are the nuts and bolts of this bill?
Answer: This bill is intended to ensure that every state will honor any concealed carry permit or right from any other state.
Question: Why is this bill needed or what does it change?
Answer: Currently states may choose if they are going to honor or recognize the validity of concealed carry permits from any other state. This creates a confusing patchwork model that often confuses gun owners and worse, sets them up to become criminals when they fail to research, understand, and follow the various different gun laws from state to state. This new bill if it becomes law would create some base standard without fully removing the states rights to regulate gun laws.
Question: What would this bill force states to do?
Answer: It will require that a state recognize the right to carry a firearm concealed by any person who possesses any concealed carry permit from any state OR by any person who resides in a state where one can carry a concealed firearm legally without a permit.
Question: What clause if any does the bill have referring to what gun, ammunition, or magazines that could be carried. Right now many states prohibit magazines with certain ammunition capacity or prohibit certain kinds of ammunition. How would that change?
Answer: The bill allows that anyone who carries a concealed firearm under this new bill can carry A handgun with ANY magazine with ANY ammunition. The way I interpret the bill (and the language is very specific and clear) this would mean that magazine capacity limitations and ammunition limitations would no longer be valid or apply to anyone carrying under this bill anytime or anywhere. (Click here if you want to learn more about current magazine capacity laws including a current map)
Question: Would this bill also include non-resident permits? For example if I live in a place where it is difficult or impossible to obtain my local state's permit, and I obtain a permit from a different state from where I reside, would this bill apply to me?
Answer: Yes. The bill clearly says it applies to any qualified person who has been issued A permit from A state which permits the person to carry a concealed firearm. So if you were to obtain a non-resident permit that would entitle you to carry under this bill; anywhere including your home state. (Click here for a list of the most common or easy to get non-resident permits)
Question: What do you mean by qualified person?
Answer: I mean that in order for this bill to apply to you, you must not be otherwise prohibited from possessing, transporting, shipping, or receiving a firearm per federal law.
Question: What if I live in a state that has Constitutional Carry? Meaning if my state of residence doesn't require me to obtain a permit in order to carry concealed then would I still have to obtain one in order to carry nationally under this bill?
Answer: No. The bill, when clarifying the qualifiers allows that the person qualifies if the are “…entitled to carry a concealed firearm in the State in which the person resides…” This is especially important for residents of Vermont who have the legal right to carry concealed but have no way to apply for or receive any sort of state concealed carry permit as the state of Vermont has no permitting process or system. That said it would also apply to residents of states like Idaho and Arizona which allow their citizens to carry concealed without a permit but have still maintained a permit option for residents who want to have reciprocity elsewhere. With the passage of this bill those state may choose to cease their permit programs all together similar to what Vermont has done. (Click here for more information about Constitutional Carry and a List of States that currently allow is)
Question: What discretion or regulation would the state still have power to enforce?
Answer: The state would still have the power to determine what people with concealed carry permits could do or where they could go within that state. In the same way that every state is required to honor drivers licenses from every other state but each state can still have it's own specific traffic laws. Meaning, if any given state wants to require you to carry with no round in the chamber they could. If they want to make it illegal, even with a valid permit, to carry on public streets or in public parks, or darn near anywhere else… they could. They have to extend to any US permit holder the same rights as they do to their local permit holders and they have to allow any magazine with any ammo. That is what they have to do. Beyond that they can choose to make laws that determine what rights a permit gives someone in their state. This is why it will still be very important to research other state laws and be familiar with these restrictions. (Click here for the best research tool)
Question: What does this bill do about school zones and the Gun Free School Zone Act?
Answer: Current Section 922(q) prohibits anyone from being in possession of a firearm within a school zone unless otherwise permitted by the state (and a few other less noteworthy exceptions). HR38 allows that anyone carrying under this bill shall not be subject to the restrictions of 922(q). This means that in states where the law, even for those with a concealed carry permit, does not allow firearms within a school zone, would no longer be enforceable for anyone carrying under HR38. TO BE CLEAR, that does NOT mean that anyone carrying under this bill could have a gun IN a school anywhere in the country. It means that previously if the law didn't specifically allow those with permits to be within 1000 feet of a school with a firearm; if carrying under this bill that prohibition is no longer applicable. Other prohibitions that prevent guns from being in schools would still stand and apply.
Question: But could a state opt-out?
Answer: Essentially no. The bill does say it applies to any state that either has a statue under which residents may apply for a permit or licence to carry a firearm (49 states currently) or any state which does not prohibit the carrying of concealed firearms by residents of the State (the other 1 state plus some of the 49 previously mentioned as well). Now in theory you may say that a state could then choose to do away with it's concealed carry permit program and not allow concealed carry at all. Then they wouldn't have to honor any permits from anywhere right? Well in theory that is right BUT the Supreme court has already ruled that the state has to allow citizens some legal method to carry a concealed handgun for self-defense. This is why currently every state has a permit program of some form except Vermont which doesn't require any permit or license to carry concealed. So it would be impossible or at least against the constitution as interpreted by the Supreme Court for any state to try to opt-out.
Question: What does this change if anything about carrying on Federal Property like National Parks?
Answer: Currently the law allows that the prohibition or allowance of firearms in a National Park, Monument, or Memorial is regulated by the state in which that park, monument, or memorial is located. In HR38 that changes to allow that anyone carrying under the bill can carry a concealed handgun in any of the following areas that are open to the public: A unit of the National Park System, a unit of the National Wildlife Refuge System, public land under the jurisdiction of the BLM, land administered and managed by the Army Corps of Engineers, Land administered and managed by the Bureau of Reclamation, Land administered and managed by the Forest Service.
Question: What about the Fix Nics part of this bill I've heard about?
Answer: Previously there was a separate bill (HB 4477) that has now been combined into HB 38. This Title II section of the bill referred to as FIX NICS is intended to better ensure that those who are already disqualified from buying firearms would be more likely to be listed in the NICS database and thus more likely to fail a background check when run. The bill also pushes to better prosecute those who are disqualified when they try to buy a gun and it commissions a study to be conducted on crime committed with Bump Stocks
Question: But does the Fix Nics Bill change who can buy guns? I've heard gun grabbers are supporting that part of the bill.
Answer: The comparable bill that is in the Senate is horrible and should not be supported. I understand that it does expand the types of people that would not pass background checks and all around its just a bad thing. That said the Title II section of HB 38 that was passed in the house has no such clause or concern. It simply has language to create an incentive and punish government agencies based on their compliance to existing reporting requirements of the Brady Bill. It also commissions a study to be conducted on crime committed with Bump Stocks.
Do you have additional questions or do you think I got something wrong? Let me know in the comments below.