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U.S. House of Representatives Considering National Right to Carry Reciprocity Bill…

Urge Your Representative To Cosponsor H.R. 822, The National Right to Carry Reciprocity Act Of 2011
Friday, April 08, 2011
Congressmen Cliff Stearns (R-Fla.) and Heath Shuler (D-N.C.) have introduced vital legislation that will enable millions of permit holders to exercise their right to self-defense while traveling outside their home states.

There are now only two states that have no clear legal way for individuals to carry concealed firearms for self-defense.  Thirty-nine states have shall-issue permit systems that make it possible for any law-abiding person to obtain a permit, while most of the others have discretionary permit systems.

H.R. 822 would make a major step forward for gun owners’ rights by significantly expanding where those permits are recognized.

Dozens of states have passed carry laws over the past 25 years because the right to self-defense does not end when one leaves home.  However, interstate recognition of those permits is not uniform and creates great confusion and potential problems for the traveler. While many states have broad reciprocity, others have very restrictive reciprocity laws. Still others deny recognition completely.

H.R. 822 would solve this problem by requiring that lawfully issued carry permits be recognized, while protecting the ability of the various states to determine the areas where carrying is prohibited. The bill would not create a federal licensing system; rather, it would require the states to recognize each others’ carry permits, just as they recognize drivers’ licenses and carry permits held by armored car guards. Rep. Stearns has introduced similar legislation since 1995.

In the few weeks since its introduction, H.R. 822 has added over 163 cosponsors. Click here to see if your Congressman is a cosponsor. However, more support is needed to make this bill a higher priority.

If your Congressman is not yet a cosponsor, respectfully urge him or her to support the fundamental right to self-defense by becoming a cosponsor of H.R. 822. If your Representative is already a cosponsor, please offer your thanks for his or her support.  And remember to watch this alert for updates!

The complete text of this bill is included below.

This information was provided by the NRA Institute for Legislative Action.  http://www.nraila.org

The National Right-to-Carry Reciprocity Bill


H.R. 822, introduced in the U.S. House by Representatives Cliff Stearns (R-Fla.) and Heath Shuler (D-N.C.), would allow any person with a valid state-issued concealed firearm permit to carry a concealed firearm in any state that issues concealed firearm permits, or that does not prohibit the carrying of concealed firearms for lawful purposes. A state’s laws governing where concealed firearms may be carried would apply within its borders. The bill applies to D.C., Puerto Rico and U.S. territories. It would not create a federal licensing system; rather, it would require the states to recognize each others’ carry permits, just as they recognize drivers’ licenses and carry permits held by armored car guards. Rep. Stearns has introduced such legislation since 1995.

• H.R. 822 recognizes the significant impact of the landmark cases, District of Columbia v. Heller (2008) and McDonald v. City of Chicago (2010), which found that the Second Amendment protects a fundamental, individual right to keep and bear arms and that the protections of the Second Amendment extend to infringements under state law.

• Today, 48 states have laws permitting concealed carry, in some circumstances. Forty states, accounting for two-thirds of the U.S. population, have right-to-carry laws. Thirty-six of those have “shall issue” permit laws (including Alaska and Arizona, which also allow carrying without a permit), two have fairly administered “discretionary issue” permit laws, and Vermont (along with Alaska and Arizona) allows carrying without a permit. (Eight states have restrictive discretionary issue laws.)

• Citizens with carry permits are more law-abiding than the general public. Only 0.01% of nearly 1.2 million permits issued by Florida have been revoked because of firearm crimes by permit holders. Similarly low percentages of permits have been revoked in Texas, Virginia, and other right-to-carry states that keep such statistics. Right-to-carry is widely supported by law enforcement officials and groups.

• States with right-to-carry laws have lower violent crime rates. On average, right-to-carry states have 22 percent lower total violent crime rates, 30 percent lower murder rates, 46 percent lower robbery rates, and 12 percent lower aggravated assault rates, compared to the rest of the country. The seven states with the lowest violent crime rates are right-to-carry states. (Data: FBI.)

• Crime declines in states with right-to-carry laws. Since adopting right-to-carry in 1987, Florida’s total violent crime and murder rates have dropped 32 percent and 58 percent, respectively. Texas’ violent crime and murder rates have dropped 20 percent and 31 percent, respectively, since enactment of its 1996 right-to-carry law. (Data: FBI.)

• The right of self-defense is fundamental, and has been recognized in law for centuries. The Declaration of Independence asserts that “life” is among the unalienable rights of all people. The Second Amendment guarantees the right of the people to keep and bear arms for “security.”

• The laws of all states and the constitutions of most states recognize the right to use force in self-defense. The Supreme Court has stated that a person “may repel force by force” in self-defense, and is “entitled to stand his ground and meet any attack made upon him with a deadly weapon, in such a way and with such force” as needed to prevent “great bodily injury or death.” (Beard v. United States (1895))

• Congress affirmed the right to own guns for “protective purposes” in the Gun Control Act (1968) and Firearm Owners’ Protection Act (1986). In 1982, the Senate Judiciary Committee Subcommittee on the Constitution described the right to arms as “a right of the individual citizen to privately possess and carry in a peaceful manner firearms and similar arms.”

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