Expand national right to carry to all 50 states

"That’s why I have a concealed carry permit and why tens of millions of Americans do, too. That permit should be valid in all 50 states.”

Trump-O-Meter: Expand national right to carry

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Donald Trump has promised to defend law-abiding gun owners, which includes a proposal making concealed-carry permits legal in all 50 states, much like how a state driver’s license works.

“The right of self-defense doesn’t stop at the end of your driveway,” reads Trump’s position on Second Amendment rights. “That’s why I have a concealed carry permit and why tens of millions of Americans do too. That permit should be valid in all 50 states.”

Many attempts to reform gun laws in the United States have split Congress, but with Republican majorities in both houses of Congress, the prospect of a national right-to-carry contiues to be a hot topic. 


A national reciprocity bill would streamline a patchwork of state laws. (Reciprocity refers to when a one state recognizes a conceal and carry permit in one state and vice versa.)

Some states, such as New York and California, do not recognize permits from other states. Others, including Indiana, Kentucky and Ohio, do. So, if you have a concealed carry permit in your home state, it will be honored by Ohio (unless you’re from Vermont). However, your permit wouldn’t be recognized in New York.

Then, there are states that only allow permits from certain states. Georgia, for example, only allows permits from 33 states, while Texas accepts permits from 42 states.

Point being, individuals with state-issued conceal and carry permits have to research the laws prescribed by other states before traveling across state lines with their gun.

Under Trump’s proposal, anyone who’s allowed to carry in a state could carry a concealed firearm anywhere else in the country. Although specifics of the plan are lacking, a nationwide right-to-carry law would supersede other reciprocity laws.

“A driver’s license works in every state, so it’s common sense that a concealed carry permit should work in every state,” reads Trump’s stance on the idea.


Trump hasn’t offered any details on how he plans to implement a national right-to-carry policy, but in the past, Congress has proposed legislation to make this happen.

Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, introduced the National Right-to-Carry Reciprocity Act of 2015 in the Senate. It was sent to the Senate Judiciary Committee, where it hasn’t moved.

In 2011, 2013 and 2014, similar bills were introduced, but none was successful.

North Carolina Republican Rep. Richard Hudson — a co-chair on Trump’s Second Amendment Coalition — introduced the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017 (H.R. 38) on Jan. 3, 2017.

This act would allow people with state-issued conceal and carry permits to carry their gun to all 50 states, as well as let  gun owners from states that do not require concealed-carry permits to carry weapons in states that do require permits.


Past attempts to bring national right-to-carry were met with opposition, mostly from Democrats who favor gun control.

John Lott, president of the pro-gun Crime Prevention Research Center, said it will be difficult to get legislation to pass, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible.  

“The problem with getting reciprocity through is that the Democrats in the Senate will filibuster it,” Lott said. “Since the Republicans only have 52 seats … they would need to pick up eight Democrats to break the filibuster.”  

Lott also said he suspects that Democrats will load legislation with “poison pills,” or amendments that get added to bills in hopes of making them useless or less appealing.