By Elizabeth Beshears
Several of Alabama's Congressional delegates are cosponsoring a new bill being introduced to Congress, the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act, which would allow the concealed carry permits of any state to be valid in all states around the country.
Congressmen Bradley Byrne (R-AL1), Mike Rogers (R-AL3), Mo Brooks (R-AL5), and Gary Palmer (R-AL6) are all signed on to cosponsor the bill, which has been referred to the House Judicial committee's subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations.
Similar legislation has been introduced in the Senate sponsored by Senator John Cornyn (R-TX).
Currently, every state that has a process to give its citizens a concealed carry permit has the option to enter into reciprocity agreements with other states. In Alabama, for example, our permits are also valid in Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, New Hampshire, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, West Virginia, and Wyoming.
Other states do not recognize Alabama's permits, a fact Rep. Gary Palmer says is problematic because the right to bear arms is one guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution, not just the states.
"I am a strong supporter of the second amendment and the right of people to keep and bear arms," Palmer told Yellowhammer Tuesday afternoon. "It doesn't make a lot of sense to have a right that's in the Constitution that stops at the boundaries of a state line. That right is not a state right, it's a federal right."
Rep. Bradley Byrne says he is in favor of the bill because he believes "Washington should do everything we can to promote and strengthen the Second Amendment instead of trying to restrict access to firearms."
"As a staunch supporter of the Second Amendment," Byrne told Yellowhammer, "I am proud to co-sponsor legislation to allow those who have a concealed carry permit in their home state to transport firearms across state lines."
The National Rifle Association (NRA) is in support of legislation allowing permits to be valid nationwide.
"The current patchwork of state and local laws is confusing for even the most conscientious and well-informed concealed carry permit holders. This confusion often leads to law-abiding gun owners running afoul of the law when they exercise their right to self-protection while traveling or temporarily living away from home," said Executive Director of NRA-ILA Chris W. Cox. "Our fundamental right to self-defense does not stop at a state's borders. Law abiding citizens should be able to exercise this right while traveling across state lines"
Proponents of the legislation make clear that it would not dictate state laws, or establish national standards for concealed carry, it would simply have states treat concealed weapon permits similarly to driver's licenses, which are issued by individual states, but valid across the country.