For months we have been reporting on a critically important bill: H.R. 822—the National Right-to-Carry Reciprocity Act of 2011. This vital NRA-backed legislation, introduced earlier this year by Congressmen Cliff Stearns (R-Fla.) and Heath Shuler (D-N.C.) will enable millions of permit holders to exercise their right to self-defense while traveling outside their home states.
Thanks to much hard work and action taken by NRA and our members, H.R. 822 has now garnered 242 cosponsors in the U.S. House. On Tuesday, September 13, the House Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security will hold a hearing on the bill.
There is currently only one state (Illinois) that has no clear legal way for individuals to carry concealed firearms for self-defense. Forty states have permit systems that make it possible for any law-abiding person to obtain a permit, while most of the others have discretionary permit systems. (Vermont has never required a permit.)
H.R. 822 would make a major step forward for gun owners' rights by significantly expanding where those permits are recognized.
Dozens of states have passed Right-to-Carry laws over the past 25 years because the right to self-defense does not end when one leaves home. However, interstate recognition of those permits is not uniform and creates great confusion and potential problems for travelers. While many states have broad reciprocity, others have very restrictive reciprocity laws. Still others deny recognition completely.
H.R. 822 would solve this problem by requiring that lawfully issued carry permits be recognized, while protecting the ability of the various states to determine the areas where carrying is prohibited within their boundaries. The bill would not create a federal licensing system, nor would it establish a minimum federal standard for the carry permit; rather, it would require the states to recognize each others' carry permits, just as they recognize driver's licenses and carry permits held by armored car guards. Rep. Stearns has introduced similar legislation since 1995.
To read our fact sheet on H.R. 822, please click here. And remember to watch this alert for updates!