On March 1, 2017, Senator John Cornyn introduced the Constitutional Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017 (“CCCRA”). The following is a link to the text of the CCCRA: https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/senate-bill/446/text. The CCRA is similar to the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017 (“CCRA”), which Representative Richard Hudson introduced on January 3, 2017. The following is a link to the text of the CCRA: https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-bill/38/text.
Both bills would allow any person who is carrying a valid government-issued identification document and is either: (1) also carrying a valid license or permit issued by any state that permits carrying a concealed firearm; or (2) is entitled to carry a concealed firearm in the state in which he resides, to carry a concealed handgun in any state that either: (1) has a statute allowing its residents to apply for a permit to carry a concealed handgun; or (2) does not prohibit its residents from carrying concealed firearms without a license. This language allows residents of states that allow carrying a concealed firearm without the need to obtain a license, to carry in other states, without the need to obtain a license.
The CCRA would also prevent persons carrying a concealed handgun from being prosecuted simply for taking a wrong turn when traveling and entering a state that currently does not recognize their license to carry a concealed handgun. The CCRA also contains provisions designed to protect persons lawfully carrying a concealed handgun pursuant to its provisions from being arrested and prosecuted. Among other things, it prohibits a person carrying a concealed handgun from being arrested unless there is probable cause to believe that he is doing so in a manner not authorized by the CCRA. It also requires the prosecution to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant’s conduct is not protected by the CCRA in any criminal proceeding in which the CCRA is raised as a defense. This places the burden of proof on the prosecution, instead of requiring the defendant to prove that she was authorized to carry a concealed handgun pursuant to the CCRA. In addition, the CCRA authorizes any person whose is deprived of the right to carry a concealed handgun pursuant to its provisions to bring a lawsuit against any state, municipality, or person who violates that right under color of state law for damages, including attorney fees.
In addition to providing for the recognition of the right to legally carry a concealed handgun across state lines, the CCRA also authorizes carrying a concealed handgun in any areas of the National Park Service, National Wildlife Refuge System, and public land managed by the Bureau of Land Management, Army Corp of Engineers, and Bureau of Reclamation, that are open to the public.
The CCCRA does not contain any of these additional provisions. Another significant difference between the CCCRA and the CCCRA is that Representative Hudson’s bill would allow a person who lives in a state, such as New York, that has a restrictive policy regarding the issuance of licenses to carry a concealed handgun to obtain a non-resident permit from another state, such as Florida, and then be able to carry a concealed handgun in New York based on having the Florida non-resident license. Senator Cornyn’s bill does not have this provision and would not allow a resident of a state to carry a concealed firearm in his home state by obtaining a non-resident permit from another state.