House Weighs Bill to Make Gun Permits Valid Across State Lines

By Shannon Bream

Lawmakers are considering a House bill that would give Americans who hold permits to carry firearms in their home states the right to carry their weapons across state lines.

Although many states have entered into voluntary agreements, there is no nationwide framework for honoring permits and licenses uniformly. A bipartisan bill, co-authored by Reps. Cliff Stearns, R-Fla., and Heath Shuler, D-N.C., aims to change that.

Supporters say the measure would not create a federal licensing system, but would require that all states recognize lawfully issued permits — regardless of where they were issued. Gun rights advocacy groups say it’s the only way to make sure that lawful gun owners’ Second Amendment rights are guaranteed when they travel away from their home states.

But opponents say the bill tramples on each state’s autonomy to set the standards legislators believe are necessary to confront local problems. Foes also said that the law could allow violent offenders to hold on to their weapons.

Testifying before Congress on Tuesday, Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey told the story of Marqus Hill, a man whose Pennsylvania gun permit was revoked after he was charged with attempted murder.

“Despite his record, he then used his Florida permit to carry a loaded gun in Philadelphia,” Ramsey said. “He eventually shot a teenager thirteen times in the chest killing him on the street.”

Gun rights advocates say the dire warnings about expanding the rights of law-abiding citizens are overblown. Wayne LaPierre, executive director of the National Rifle Association, said the American public is more interested in self-defense than scare tactics. He’s also predicting a win for what has been dubbed the National Right-to-Carry Reciprocity Act of 2011.

“It cuts across Democrats, Republicans, liberals, conservatives — even President Obama’s base is strongly in favor of this legislation,” LaPierre said..

Gun control groups like the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence have successfully defeated similar legislation in the past, and vow to stop this bill as well. They’re aligning with a number of elected officials and law enforcement organizations, who say this measure would make it even tougher for officers to determine which guns are on the streets legally or illegally.


  1. Neil, youir brief exegesis is impressive, and theoretically unanswerable.

    Unforntunatley, we live in a land where case law has illegitimately amended the Constitution. The reality is, just TRY carrying concealed in all but four states without a permit, get caught, and watch what happens. Go ahead. I’ll close my eyes.

    And pray for you.

  2. Paperwork, fingerprints, photographs, fees, and background checks to allow people to carry a side-arm? What kind of nonsense is this?

    The right of self-defense is a corollary to the right to life; to deny one is to deny the other. The purpose of government is to insure our rights, not to infringe on them.

    The fact is that governments should not be involved in permitting the carriage of weapons, either openly or concealed, by anyone.

    Our constitution states that the right of the people to keep (possess) and bear (carry) arms shall not be infringed. Marbury v. Madison (1803) decided that the Constitution is the supreme law of the land, and that any law that contradicts the Constitution is null and void. “The general rule is that an unconstitutional statute, though having the form and the name of law, is in reality no law, but is wholly void and ineffective for any purpose since unconstitutionality dates from the time of its enactment and not merely from the date of the decision so branding it; an unconstitutional law, in legal contemplation, is as inoperative as if it had never been passed … An unconstitutional law is void.” (16 American Jurisprudence 2d, Sec. 178)

    The right of a citizen to bear arms, in lawful defense of himself or the State, is absolute. He does not derive it from the State government. It is one of the high powers” delegated directly to the citizen, and `is excepted out of the general powers of government.’ A law cannot be passed to infringe upon or impair it, because it is above the law, and independent of the lawmaking power.” [Cockrum v. State, 24 Tex. 394, at 401-402 (1859)]

    In Murdock v. Pennsylvania (1943) the Supreme Court stated that a constitutionally-protected right may not be licensed, nor a fee charged.

    In Shuttlesworth v. Birmingham, Alabama (1962) the Supreme Court decided that “If the state does attempt to convert a liberty into a privilege, the citizen can engage in the right with impunity.” (That means they can’t punish you, folks!)

    To paraphrase an oft-quoted movie line, “Permits? We don’ need no steenking permits!”

  3. ‘No arsenal, or no weapon in the arsenals of the world, is as formidable as the will and moral courage of free men and women.’
    – Ronald Reagan

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