The Right-to-Carry Reciprocity Act of 2013 (H.R. 2959) has been introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by Congressmen Richard Nugent (R-Fla.) and Jim Matheson (D-Utah). The bill would allow any person who is not prohibited from possessing or receiving a firearm under federal law and who has a valid, concealed firearm permit to carry a concealed handgun in any state that issues its own residents permits to carry concealed firearms. Persons carrying a handgun in another state pursuant to H.R. 2959 would be subject to the laws of that state with respect to where concealed firearms may be carried. Similar legislation to H.R. 2959 passed the U.S. House of Representatives in 2011 by an overwhelming bipartisan vote of 272-154.
H.R. 2959 would not create a federal licensing system, nor authorize the federal government to interfere with the powers of the states to set standards for the issuance of carry permits, nor establish federal standards for carry permits, nor override state laws allowing for the carrying of firearms without a permit. Rather, it would simply require the states to recognize each others’ carry permits.
This is not a new or untested concept. Since 2004, certain active and retired law enforcement officers have been authorized to carry concealed firearms throughout the United States based on identification issued by the agencies that employ or formerly employed them. Most states that issue carry permits or licenses already have statutes that grant reciprocity or recognition to non-resident licenses or permits under various circumstances. Meanwhile, Right-to-Carry Reciprocity legislation has been introduced in Congress since 1995.
• The Supreme Court has ruled that the Second Amendment protects an individual right to keep and bear arms for defensive purposes. In District of Columbia v. Heller (2008), the Court ruled that “the inherent right of self-defense has been central to the Second Amendment right” throughout U.S. history, and that the Second Amendment protects “the individual right to possess and carry weapons in case of confrontation.” In McDonald v. City of Chicago (2010), the Court ruled that the protections of the Second Amendment extend to infringements under state and local laws.
• The Seventh and Ninth Circuits, among other courts, have affirmed that the individual right protected by the Second Amendment includes the carrying of firearms in public for self-defense. In the 2012 case of Shepard v. Madigan, authored by Judge Richard Posner, the court ruled that the “confrontations” of which the Supreme Court wrote in Heller “are not limited to the home.” The court accordingly held, “A right to bear arms thus implies a right to carry a loaded gun outside the home.” The Ninth Circuit similarly held in the 2014 case ofPeruta v. San Diego County that Second Amendment protects the right of responsible, law-abiding persons to carry a firearm outside the home for self-defense.