Trump-O-Meter: Expand national right to carry
Concealed carry bill clears House, faces long odds in Senate
Donald Trump's promise to make concealed carry permits valid across state lines gained traction when the Republican-led House passed a bill in December that would treat gun permits similarly to driver's licenses.
But the measure faces long odds in the Senate.
Under the broad strokes of the House-passed Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act, having a permit issued by one state would make it legal to carry in any state. This would streamline the patchwork of varying laws and standards across the country currently in place as a result of each state having largely determined its own scheme for regulating the carrying of firearms.
Thirty-eight states require gun owners to obtain a state-issued permit before they can lawfully carry a concealed weapon in public, while a dozen states require no permit at all.
States also have traditionally decided for themselves whether to honor out-of-state permits, a legal concept known as "reciprocity." But the NRA-backed measure would establish a national reciprocity scheme as the new law of the land.
Then-candidate Trump appealed to Second Amendment voters in part on a promise to secure recognition for concealed-carry permits in all 50 states.
"The right of self-defense doesn't stop at the end of your driveway," Trump's campaign literature stated. "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."
The Republican-sponsored bill cleared the House on Dec. 6 in a 231-198 vote that broke mostly along party lines. That marks progress toward Trump's promise — but only to a degree.
The bill faces a steep climb in the Senate, where Republicans hold a slim 51-49 majority, short of the 60 votes needed to break a filibuster by pro-gun control Democrats.
Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., who emerged as a leading advocate for stricter gun regulation following the 2012 mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, condemned the House-passed measure as "a terrible, dangerous idea."
"I urge leaders in Congress to dump the national concealed weapons bill and work together to keep deadly weapons away from people we all already agree shouldn't have them," he wrote in a press release.
While the House's passage of the GOP concealed carry reciprocity bill marks progress toward Trump's promise, the measure faces opposition in the Senate, where Republicans lack the votes needed to break a Democratic filibuster. For now, we rate this promise In the Works.
PolitiFact, "No, the GOP concealed carry bill does not block states from keeping guns out of schools," Dec. 7, 2017
Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., press release, Dec. 6, 2017
What Trump needs to do to keep his concealed carry promise
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.
WHY HE'S PROMISING IT
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.
WHAT NEEDS TO HAPPEN
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.
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.
WHAT'S STANDING IN HIS WAY
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.