WASHINGTON — Texas Republican Sen. John Cornyn introduced Monday legislation that will allow concealed carry permit holders across the nation to legally carry their firearms across state lines, but passing it in the in the Senate will require help from Democrats.
“This bill strengthens both the constitutional right of law-abiding citizens to protect themselves and the power of states to implement laws best-suited for the folks who live there,” Sen. Cornyn said in a statement. “This legislation is an important affirmation of our Second Amendment rights and has been a top priority of law-abiding gun owners in Texas for a long time.”
According to Cornyn’s office, the bill “allows for law abiding citizens to exercise their fundamental right to self-defense while they are traveling or temporarily living away from home.”
Similar to the House version of the bill introduced by North Carolina Rep. Richard Hudson last month, the legislation permits those with concealed carry privileges in their home state to conceal carry in any other states that also allows concealed carry.
Cornyn described the Monday bill to The Daily Caller as treating state-issued concealed carry permits like a driver’s license. “When you go from Texas to New Jersey, you can use that same driver’s license—subject to that state’s laws.”
The bill does not establish national standards for concealed carry and does not provide for a national concealed carry permit. The bill also respects states’ laws in terms of specific kinds of areas where firearms may not be carried, as well as types of firearms that cannot be carried by the visiting individual.
The legislation also does not mandate the right to concealed carry in states that do not allow the practice and, according to Cornyn’s office, “does not allow a resident to circumvent their home state’s concealed carry permit laws.”
Although Republicans hold majorities in both the House and Senate and have a Republican in the White House who called for national concealed carry reciprocity, without eight Democrats willing to cross the aisle and support the bill, it lacks a serious chance of passing.
When asked by TheDC if he thought enough Democrats would cross the aisle to support the bill, Cornyn said, “A lot of them talk about it but it remains to be seen.”
The bill has 29 Republican co-sponsors and is the third attempt by Cornyn since 2013 to pass such legislation in the upper chamber. Last Congress, identical legislation had 35 bipartisan cosponsors. In the 113th Congress, a nearly identical amendment received 57 votes.
Additionally, not all Republicans are guaranteed to support the bill. Newly reelected Pennsylvania Republican Sen. Pat Toomey, co-author of the failed 2013 Toomey-Manchin gun control legislation, said he was unaware of Cornyn’s bill and would not comment on it yet.
“The current patchwork of state and local gun laws is confusing and can cause the most conscientious and law-abiding gun owner to run afoul of the law when they are traveling or temporarily living away from home,” said Chris W. Cox, executive director of the NRA-ILA. “Senator Cornyn’s legislation provides a much needed solution to a real problem for law-abiding gun owners.”