In an effort to remove burdensome red tape that hampers the ability of legal concealed carry permit holders to carry concealed firearms into other states that allow them the National Right-to-Carry Reciprocity Act of 2012 has been introduced in the U.S. Senate. A similar bill passed the House last year with a vote of 272-164.
The Senate bill, endorsed by the National Rifle Association (NRA), is sponsored by Sen. Mark Begich (D-Alaska) and Sen. Joe Manchin (D-West Virginia).
Under the legislation, an individual with a valid ID and concealed carry permit would be allowed to carry a concealed handgun into any state that has a statute permitting residents to carry concealed firearms, or that does not explicitly prohibit them.
The legislation also says an individual who is ineligible for a concealed carry permit in his or her state would not be allowed to obtain an out-of-state permit in a state with less restrictive eligibility requirements in order to use that permit in his or her own state.
"I'm leading the effort to provide consistency so law-abiding gun owners can carry concealed firearms in every state that permits them without having to navigate confusing rules and regulations in different states," Begich said. "The right to keep and bear arms is a fundamental right and part of who we are as Alaskans and Americans. This bill is one more step in my ongoing efforts to protect the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens."
"This common sense legislation would cut down on the layers of regulations facing law-abiding Americans who have the right to own guns and use them responsibly," Manchin said. "If we can streamline and simplify some of our rules governing gun ownership, everybody wins -- especially the 65,000 West Virginians who hold concealed carry permits."
The executive director for the NRA's Institute for Legislation Action, Chris Cox, praised the Senators for introducing the bill and said it is critical to protect Second Amendment rights.
"Over the last two decades, the NRA has led the way toward a brick-by-brick restoration of self-defense laws throughout the country. National Right-to-Carry reciprocity is yet another step forward for law-abiding Americans," Cox said. "Citizens aren't immune to crime when they cross state lines, so it is only reasonable that they have an effective means of protecting themselves and their loved ones while in other states. The NRA thanks Senator Mark Begich for introducing this measure in the U.S. Senate, along with Senator Joe Manchin, for their efforts to strengthen self-defense laws in America."