It's Time for National Reciprocity

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It's Time for National Reciprocity

Postby Charles L. Cotton » Thu Dec 29, 2016 3:50 pm

This is an article I just published on TexasFirearmsCoalition.com both as a stand-alone article and as a TFC Short-Shot transcript. The audio version is on the TFC website now and it will be available on iTunes and Stitcher when their bots search for new material.

Chas.

TFC Short-Shot: It's Time for National Reciprocity wrote:(reprinted with permission from TexasFirearmsCoalition.com)

The term “national reciprocity” refers to a federal law requiring all states to recognize licenses or permits issued by other states to its citizens allowing them to carry self-defense handguns. This is not the law yet, but with the election of Donald Trump as President, the chance of such a bill passing in Congress is greatly improved. If so, it would work just like driving a motor vehicle in a state other than your home state. You still must abide by the other states’ traffic laws and gun-owners would have to abide by the gun laws in the states where their permit or license is recognized.

Decades of experience prove reciprocity works.

This is hardly a new concept. Most states have entered into voluntary reciprocity agreements with other states such that carry licenses issued from some states are recognized in other states. Texas currently has reciprocity agreements with 32 states while three more either recognize the Texas license without a formal agreement, or do not require a permit to carry a self-defense handgun. Some of these agreements have been in place for decades while a few were only recently negotiated. During this time, licensees from all states have proven themselves to be just as law-abiding and responsible outside the borders of their home states as they have been in their state of residence. Other states have reciprocity agreements with each other states, but the number of states covered by those agreements are typically far fewer than Texas enjoys.

Passing national reciprocity isn’t like launching Alan Shephard into space on May 5, 1961. He was the first American in space and there was no history or experience on which he or NASA could draw. He was a human guinea pig whose job was to test the theories and equipment created by NASA’s best. In Texas alone, we have over 20 years experience with citizens carrying self-defense handguns. Some states have had license laws in place longer, some for a shorter period of time. While Texas is the only state to publish crime statistics for the general public and licensees in great detail, data for other states indicate their licensees also have a good track record in terms of being law-abiding, responsible citizens who do not misuse their self-defense handguns. This is not May, 1961 and we are not operating in a vacuum. The data proves that licensees are not a threat to public safety. Indeed, their presence increases public safety.

Why is national reciprocity needed?
Some will argue that voluntary reciprocity agreements work well, so why is national reciprocity needed? It is needed because not all states will enter into such agreements. There are approximately fourteen states that will not enter into an agreement with Texas, in spite of the fact that thirty-five states recognize the Texas License to Carry a Handgun. As noted earlier, few if any other states enjoy the number of reciprocity agreements Texas has negotiated, with the possible exception of Florida. The result is people are prohibited from possessing the tools necessary to defend themselves and their loved ones from violent attack. This guts the constitutional right to self-defense recognized in the Heller decision.
While all 50 states currently have a handgun carry permit or license law in place, some do not even issue permits to residents unless they are wealthy and/or politically connected. Anti-gun people and organizations will condescendingly say “well don’t go to those states.” Even if one were to accept the concept of a state trampling the right of self-defense, not all trips are voluntary. Business and family emergencies often dictate one’s travel plans. No man or woman should have to choose between being equipped to defend themselves and remaining gainfully employed or visiting a relative in the hospital or attending their funeral. The typically callus attitude about self-defense and guns exhibited by anti-gun people and organizations is not merely insulting; it ignores reality.

Anti-gun fearmongering never ends.
Anti-gun people and organizations use the same false predictions of death and destruction if national reciprocity passes as they claim every time a pro-gun bill is filed. In Texas, these claims were heard when a state preemption law passed in 1987, when concealed-carry passed in 1995, when governmental agencies lost the legal authority to post 30.06 signs in 2003, when the Motorists Protection Act passed in 2007 allowing Texans to have handguns in their cars without a concealed handgun license, and when open-carry and campus-carry passed in 2015. Every single time the parade-of-horribles never came to pass, but that doesn’t stop liars from spewing lies. Again, this isn’t May, 1961 and we have decades of experience upon which to draw. That experience proves that national reciprocity will not be a threat to public safety.

Gun-Owner Concerns.
Generally speaking, there are two groups of gun-owners who are concerned about national reciprocity and do not want to see it pass. In the first group are people and organizations whose business models are 1) attack the NRA with false allegations; and 2) ask people for money to allow them to continue to do so. Dishonesty in this group is a rampant as in any anti-gun organization. Consider this when hearing or reading attacks on the NRA and/or national reciprocity: These people and organizations have never passed a single pro-gun bill, nor have they killed a single anti-gun bill. They make money by fearmongering and lying.
The second group is populated by people who legitimately worry about federal intervention into this area. They fear that a national reciprocity law will result in the federal government establishing 1) eligibility, training and renewal requirements in order to obtain a license to carry a handgun; and 2) off-limits locations for people with a handgun license. Unfortunately, these fears are likely based upon false information spread by people and organizations in the first group.
Federal intervention in general.

Intellectual honesty demands that I agree that federal intervention into matters that the U.S. Constitution leaves to the police powers of the states should be avoided at all costs. Intellectual honesty also demands that everyone acknowledge that we are far past the beginning point of an unconstitutional invasion by the feds into the police powers of the state. The purest approach would be to repeal all such laws that offend the Constitution. However, unlike theoretical physicists, we must work in the real world of politics. Repealing all gun laws that violate either the Second Amendment or that invade the police powers of the states is not going to happen in the foreseeable future. Holding to the purest approach and shunning national reciprocity may allow some people to claim they are sticking to their principles. However, their soothed conscience does not help the woman who is raped and murdered, because she had to leave her self-defense handgun at home when she went to her mother’s funeral in New Jersey.

In short, it’s too late to worry about a Martian invasion, they are already here. Federal law already regulates firearms in several aspects from eligibility to possess firearms in general to the federal Gun Free School Zone law. Until and unless the time comes when it is feasible to kick Martians out (get the federal government to act only within Constitutional authority) , then the best we can do is pass a federal law to protect as much of the Constitution as possible. There is no greater core Constitutional right enjoyed by a citizen than the right to protect and preserve their own life. National reciprocity makes this possible.
Federal establishment of license requirement and off-limits areas.

Some people honestly fear that passing national reciprocity will result in the federal government (either Congress or a regulatory agency) establishing requirements for obtaining a license to carry a handgun and/or off-limits areas for licensees. While this is technically a possibility, the NRA will never let that happen. No Congressional bill will pass that addresses either of these areas of concern. No bill will pass giving the BATFE, FBI or any other federal agency regulatory authority over carrying a handgun. It simply will not happen. If a national reciprocity bill were to be amended to allow federal regulation, then the NRA would kill the bill.

Conclusion
National reciprocity is needed so as to allow citizens to travel our country without having their route or destination deprive them of the ability to defend themselves. States’ rights and the Tenth Amendment are an often-ignored cornerstone of the American republic form of government. Nevertheless, core Constitutional rights apply across state lines and it is long past the time when those rights should be more than an intellectual discussion point. Support national reciprocity when it comes to Congress.
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Re: It's Time for National Reciprocity

Postby ELB » Thu Dec 29, 2016 4:08 pm

Clayton Cramer recently published an academic paper on the authority of Congress to pass national reciprocity that some might find enlightening:

Abstract and download: https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm ... id=2890681

Direct link: https://poseidon01.ssrn.com/delivery.ph ... 17&EXT=pdf

A small excerpt:

At first glance, the idea of the national government directing states to recognize concealed carry licenses issued by other states seems like a disturbing interference in the federal system, where Congress’ powers are limited to the relatively narrow list contained in Art. I, § 18. Some would say that horse left the barn a very long time ago, but even reading the existing case law very narrowly, Congressional authority seems sufficient on several grounds.
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Re: It's Time for National Reciprocity

Postby Syntyr » Thu Dec 29, 2016 8:19 pm

Chas,
Thank you for that well written article. Thats exactly why i posted my earlier comment about democrats promising to fillibuster national reciprocity.

Lets hope this works!
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Re: It's Time for National Reciprocity

Postby RPBrown » Fri Dec 30, 2016 1:27 pm

Just a question for debate--we would still have to follow the state we are in's handgun/carry laws. What about those in Comyfornia and Killanois? They have some of the most stringent carry laws around and could very easily change them to their advantage even more.
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Re: It's Time for National Reciprocity

Postby oohrah » Fri Dec 30, 2016 1:33 pm

Unlike the precedents for reciprocity, the federal establishment of licensing requirements did not happen with drivers licenses reciprocity. So there is no precedent for the feds to establish those requirements in this case since the states already do that.
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Re: It's Time for National Reciprocity

Postby oohrah » Fri Dec 30, 2016 1:38 pm

RPBrown wrote:Just a question for debate--we would still have to follow the state we are in's handgun/carry laws. What about those in Comyfornia and Killanois? They have some of the most stringent carry laws around and could very easily change them to their advantage even more.



Don't know about CA, but I travel to IL often and read their forums, and their CC restrictions are not that onerous, if you can actually get a license. IL does have more restrictions on public property, but otherwise is similar to TX in many regards.

But, my opinion of your question - you have to obey the other state's trafffic laws, so you would have to obey the other state's carry laws.
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Re: It's Time for National Reciprocity

Postby Soccerdad1995 » Fri Dec 30, 2016 1:41 pm

RPBrown wrote:Just a question for debate--we would still have to follow the state we are in's handgun/carry laws. What about those in Comyfornia and Killanois? They have some of the most stringent carry laws around and could very easily change them to their advantage even more.


I agree that this is a concern. But even with this possibility, national reciprocity is a step in the right direction. Ultimately, I would like to also see a requirement for a maximum level of prohibitions / minimum level of gun rights in each state, with the states free to regulate less than this national standard. But I don't know that we would need to include this in an initial bill for national reciprocity.

Ideally, a minimum level of gun rights could be enforced through the judicial system, and we wouldn't even need any laws on that front, but that might be a pipe dream.
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Re: It's Time for National Reciprocity

Postby Soccerdad1995 » Fri Dec 30, 2016 1:43 pm

oohrah wrote:But, my opinion of your question - you have to obey the other state's trafffic laws, so you would have to obey the other state's carry laws.


This is a good analogy but the difference is that other states do not place onerous restrictions on your ability to drive in their state. Some states gun laws are the equivalent of restricting vehicles to a fuel tank of less than 1 gallon capacity, with a max speed of 10 miles per hour.
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Re: It's Time for National Reciprocity

Postby remanifest » Fri Dec 30, 2016 2:00 pm

Even with reciprocity, if I'm expected to follow the rules of the state, I wouldn't be able to bring any of the guns that I own to California, which is no good for me - my family is there, and I'm generally not willing to part with my guns/reduce magazine capacity.
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Re: It's Time for National Reciprocity

Postby rotor » Fri Dec 30, 2016 2:02 pm

I hope that it does pass and that we have national reciprocity. I am not optimistic though. Texans can't even carry a Bowie knife or solve the courthouse or not a courthouse issue. Trump has said that he wants to eliminate gun free zones and the post office might be a start.
The major issue that I see is 50 states each with an 85 page CHL-16 manual making things a nightmare for the travel from one state to another. Even our CHL-16 is not clear as to what is legal and will you take the so called "ride". Drivers manual are easy since virtually everything is the same. Yield signs are the same in NY and TX. My IL drivers license (obtained at age 16) did not allow me to drive in NYC though until I was 18. I still remember the PA woman that got arrested in NJ for some minor violation. Took Gov. Christy to intervene if I remember. I hope the argument that Charles puts forward make a difference but I can see a California highway patrol officer pulling every Texas license plate over and looking for a reason to arrest one of us.

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Re: It's Time for National Reciprocity

Postby RoyGBiv » Fri Dec 30, 2016 3:44 pm

remanifest wrote:Even with reciprocity, if I'm expected to follow the rules of the state, I wouldn't be able to bring any of the guns that I own to California, which is no good for me - my family is there, and I'm generally not willing to part with my guns/reduce magazine capacity.


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Re: It's Time for National Reciprocity

Postby ELB » Fri Dec 30, 2016 5:00 pm

As part of my educating myself on HB560, I'm building a spread sheet comparing the current Texas restrictions against the other states. I've only done about a dozen so far, mostly our near neighbors, but some interesting things pop out.

Most of them do seem to have few restrictions than Texas, but the ones they do have often lay it out in similar language. It looks like at least the southern states copied off of each other a lot when formulating their licensed carry laws.

As to courts and courthouses -- there are several states that state that the prohibition on licensed carry in the courthouse extends ONLY to the court room (and sometimes then only if there is a judicial proceeding), and specifically state that the other parts of the courthouse building cannot restrict licensed carry.

So far Texas seems to be the only one that specifies that governmental entities cannot restrict concealed carry beyond what's in 46.03. Most seem to allow various state entities to control licensed carry to some degree.

In any case, for the places I have examined so far, the restrictions are pretty similar, somewhat less than Texas, some times a lot less. If National Reciprocity passes and HB560 doesn't (God forbid), we will be going from more restrictive to lesser restrictive territory generally. Not including the occupied zones, of course.
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Re: It's Time for National Reciprocity

Postby chuck j » Fri Dec 30, 2016 8:32 pm

Keep the Federal government out of our business . They are already intrusive enough . The Feds will only make a mess of it . They can not be trusted .

National reciprocity sounds good but will backfire in the end . No faith on the Federal level .....none . Will come back to torment and bite you on the buttocks .


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Re: It's Time for National Reciprocity

Postby TreyHouston » Fri Dec 30, 2016 9:10 pm

RoyGBiv wrote:
remanifest wrote:Even with reciprocity, if I'm expected to follow the rules of the state, I wouldn't be able to bring any of the guns that I own to California, which is no good for me - my family is there, and I'm generally not willing to part with my guns/reduce magazine capacity.


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Re: It's Time for National Reciprocity

Postby RoyGBiv » Fri Dec 30, 2016 11:30 pm

TreyHouston wrote:
RoyGBiv wrote:
remanifest wrote:Even with reciprocity, if I'm expected to follow the rules of the state, I wouldn't be able to bring any of the guns that I own to California, which is no good for me - my family is there, and I'm generally not willing to part with my guns/reduce magazine capacity.


Perfection is the enemy of progress.


WOW! Love it! Do you mind if i add this to my sales pitch as well as my signature line?

I am not the original owner (Voltaire, in a similar French form), so, have at it. :coolgleamA:
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