Concealed Carry & Home Defense

CCW Weekend: Is National Reciprocity In The Offing With Trump Presidency?

(Photo by George Frey/Getty Images)

Guns and Gear Contributor

By Sam Hoober, Alien Gear Holsters

Is it possible, since Donald Trump has been elected to the office of presidency, that national concealed carry reciprocity may be realized? It isn’t hard to imagine that it may cross the mind of many concerned concealed carriers. After all, a pro-2nd Amendment president and Congress of the same party would be far more conducive to bringing it about than the outgoing administration and Congress would be, for a variety of reasons.

Indeed, it is one of the single largest issues facing people who own and carry firearms for personal protection. The federal government has barely touched the notion of people carrying arms for their own protection; there have been a few court cases but nothing approaching a definitive federal law guaranteeing the right to carry. (Arguably the 2nd Amendment guarantees the right to carry, but what is reasonably read into it and what courts say it means are two different things; only the latter is legally binding.)

Many carriers, being law-abiding, don’t relish the idea of being a lawful person on one side of a line on a map and a criminal on the other. Many people also resent not having the same rights in one area as another.

As it happens, President-elect Donald Trump feels the same way. He has said in the past that he often carries a gun. In fact, The Donald is one of the few people able to actually be granted a New York City carry permit, which is typically only granted to the wealthy and powerful.

What not many know about the restrictive may-issue states is that some of them are egregiously undemocratic about their issuance policies. Unless you’re well-heeled and/or well-connected, you can pretty much forget about getting a license in many jurisdictions. New York and New Jersey are notorious for this, as are some jurisdictions in California thanks to metropolitan police chiefs and county sheriffs being the first and last word on licensing decisions.

Trump believes in the right to concealed carry for eligible citizens, and various news outlets have reported that national reciprocity (or something like it) is imminent now that Trump has been elected and there’s a Republican-controlled House and Senate. In fact, there are several national reciprocity bills in committee right now; potentially any one of them could be passed.

However, there are a few potential roadblocks at the moment.

First is the presumption that a Republican majority government is going to work reasonably well together, which is not guaranteed. As has been seen in the past year, there are deep divides in the Republican party and Trump has not always gotten along with his fellow party members.

Second is the possibility of a Tenth Amendment challenge. Those rights not reserved by the Constitution to the federal government are reserved to the states or to the people, and since the federal government doesn’t regulate civilian carry…there may be a court battle over legislation mandating all states recognize the right to carry. After all, there is no such law regarding driver’s licenses, nor licenses to practice medicine, law, or accounting. Driver’s licenses are recognized by other states by virtue of the various states agreeing to reciprocity.

However, this bump in the road to national reciprocity may be gotten around in other ways. For instance, the Law Enforcement Officers Safety Act (or LEOSA) has been more or less widely accepted, allowing law enforcement officers to carry – whether on or off-duty – anywhere in the United States other than federally-mandated gun-free zones.

In any case, there’s a very good chance that national reciprocity could become a reality in the next few years, and it’s high time that law-abiding citizens are able to fully enjoy their rights everywhere, rather than in just 80 percent of the country.

Sam Hoober is Contributing Editor for AlienGearHolsters.com, a subsidiary of Hayden, ID, based Tedder Industries, where he writes about gun accessories, gun safety, open and concealed carry tips. Click here to visit aliengearholsters.com.