Opinion

Concealed-carry reciprocity is an early Christmas present for Colorado Millennials

Author: Meaghan Croghan - December 11, 2017 - Updated: December 11, 2017

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Meaghan Croghan

The United States House of Representatives gave us an early Christmas present last week when it passed the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act in a bipartisan 231-198 vote.  This vote came the day after the Millennial Policy Center released a white paper that makes the case for concealed carry reciprocity (CCR).

H.R. 38, in part, allows a legally-able and licensed citizen to carry concealed his or her personal defense weapon to or through any state. It also lets individuals in permitless states carry in any other state without a permit, and even allows residents of one state to obtain a permit from another state if their home state makes it overly difficult.

It’s a Christmas miracle for concealed carriers and those who favor simplicity alike.  This is a common-sense approach to protecting our right to bear arms, no matter where we live.

Currently, no state completely prohibits concealed carry; however, eight states have permitting schemes that grant licensing authorities virtually unlimited discretion. This often leads to arbitrary systems in which hardly any applicants are ever granted permits.

Today, in thirteen states, through legislative action or omission, anyone who is legally allowed to own a handgun is also legally allowed to carry a concealed gun without a permit. This is commonly referred to as permitless carry, or constitutional carry.

With a patchwork of different laws and CCR agreements among various states across the country, it makes perfect sense to standardize a nationwide system which protects the individual right to keep and bear arms for self-protection outside the home.

Although not a perfect analogy, it is similar to the idea of reciprocity regarding a driver’s license.  If you have a Colorado driver’s license and drive to or through Wyoming or New Mexico, it is as though you are legally licensed to drive in that state.  At the same time, you must follow that state’s traffic laws.  The same principle applies here — only for a fundamental, constitutional right.

While opponents may argue the Constitution grants the states the authority to regulate who may or may not carry concealed, our policy paper outlines the constitutional basis as to why the states do not have the exclusive authority in this case. Specifically, because the Second Amendment is fixed as an essential, protected right in the Bill of Rights, it is not something the states are allowed to abrogate or violate as they might on other subjects.

That is, your right to self-defense must not be prohibited simply because you’ve crossed the wrong state border, just as one’s freedom of speech or women’s right to vote should not be infringed based on a border crossing. The Senate should follow the House’s lead in passing similar legislation.

Colorado Millennials can get in the Christmas spirit with the passage of this legislation, too.  First, constitutional integrity and the protection of individual rights are something every generation should care deeply about.  If we don’t stand up for and protect our rights today, we risk losing them in the future.

In addition, simplicity is one overarching and important factor that CCR would create.  Rather than continually creating layers and layers of bureaucracy, loopholes and confusion for everyone, national reciprocity is a lasting, consistent framework that could save you everything from a headache to jail time.

Another factor that Millennials specifically can appreciate is the ease of taking your self-protection weapon with you when you travel or move out of state during your career.  According to Pew Social Trends, approximately 40 percent of non-gun owning adults can see themselves owning a gun in the future, and the trend in moving to a new city and state is growing, according to Business News Daily.

While you may not have considered buying yourself a gun for Christmas, maybe the twinkle of lights and the empowering dawn of common-sense concealed carry reciprocity will inspire you to do just that.

Meaghan Croghan

Meaghan Croghan

Meaghan Croghan is a fellow in firearms policy at the Millennial Policy Center and a student at the University of Northern Colorado.