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Thune, Vitter Concealed Carry Reciprocity Bill Would Balance Rights of States, Individual Gun Owners

Bill would allow concealed carry in-line with state law without requiring new federal permit

March 20, 2012

Washington, D.C. — 

U.S. Sens. John Thune (R-S.D.) and David Vitter (R-La.) today introduced their Respecting States’ Rights and Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act, which would guarantee the rights of gun owners to carry concealed weapons across state lines in accordance with the laws of individual states. The bill balances the constitutional rights protected by the Second Amendment with the rights of each state to enforce its own laws regarding concealed firearms.

“I am pleased to introduce legislation that strikes a balance between state’s rights and individual’s Second Amendment rights outlined by the Constitution,” said Thune. “Rather than establish a national standard, our bill will ensure that law-abiding citizens are able to carry concealed firearms while at the same time respecting the laws of the respective states they visit.”

“I think we’ve succeeded in striking an effective balance here with a bill that expands our right to bear arms but doesn’t institute a heavy-handed federal permitting system,” said Vitter. “Instead, we’re returning power to individuals and to the states by allowing Americans to carry concealed firearms in accordance with local laws. This doesn’t force states to change their laws and it doesn’t force individuals to go through yet another permitting process – the best solution to streamline a complicated problem.”

The Thune-Vitter bill would guarantee that persons who are legally permitted to have a concealed firearm according to the laws of their home state may carry such a firearm in any other state that allows concealed carry. The bill would not force Illinois and the District of Columbia, which currently prohibit concealed carry, to change their laws. The bill would also respect individual state laws regarding specific locations where firearms are prohibited.

The bill does not establish national standards for concealed carry, and it does not provide for a national carry permit, nor does it allow individual gun owners to circumvent the laws of their home states.

In July 2009, a similar version of the Thune-Vitter bill received 58 votes – two shy of passage. The current version of the bill has attracted 28 original co-sponsors in the Senate, including: Senators Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.), John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), John Boozman (R-Ark.), Richard Burr (R-N.C.), Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.), Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), Thad Cochran (R-Ms.), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Orin Hatch (R-Utah), Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), Mike Lee (R-Utah), Mitch McConnell (R-Kent.), Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) Rand Paul (R-Kent.), Rob Portman (R-Ohio), Jim Risch (R-Idaho), Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), Marco Rubio (R-Fl.), Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), and Roger Wicker (R-Ms.).

The bill is supported by numerous groups including the National Rifle Association, Gun Owners of America, National Shooting Sports Foundation, Passenger-Cargo Security Group, and Women Against Gun Control.