One of Richmond County’s two U.S. representatives wants concealed carry permits to extend to all states.
Rep. Richard Hudson earlier this week introduced H.R. 38, the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act, as one of the first bills for the 118th Congress to take into consideration.
According to Hudson’s office, the bill, if signed into law, would allow those with concealed carry licenses or permits to conceal a handgun in any of the 50 states, as long as state laws are followed. It would also allow those in constitutional carry states to carry a firearm openly or concealed in other states.
“H.R. 38 guarantees the Second Amendment does not disappear when crossing an invisible state line,” Hudson said in a press release. “The Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act protects law-abiding citizens’ rights to conceal carry and travel freely between states without worrying about conflicting state codes or onerous civil suits. I am especially proud to have such widespread and bipartisan support for this measure as I continue working to get this legislation over the finish line.”
As of Jan. 13, the bill had 137 co-sponsors, including North Carolina Reps. Dan Bishop (who also represents Richmond County), Virginia Foxx, Greg Murphy and Patrick McHenry, all of whom are Republicans. In fact, all current cosponsors are Republican except for Rep. Jared Golden of Maine, who was one of the 118 original co-sponsors.
Hudson introduced a similar bill during the last session, as did other representatives.
The bill has garnered praise from several gun rights advocates.
“The U.S. Supreme Court recently affirmed that the fundamental right to keep and bear arms does not stop at a person’s front door. Congress should now affirm that the right to self-defense does not stop at a state line,” Jason Ouimet, executive director of the NRA-ILA, said in a statement. “The NRA thanks Rep. Hudson for his strong and unwavering leadership in the march towards right-to-carry reciprocity.”
Tim Schmidt, president and founder of the U.S. Concealed Carry Association, also praised Hudson’s legislation.
“This long-overdue legislation would represent a step in the right direction towards modernizing America’s concealed carry laws to ensure responsible gun owners can avoid danger and save lives,” Schmidt said.
But not all Second Amendment supporters are in favor of the bill.
Paul Valone, president of Grass Roots North Carolina, says the legislation has merit, but is unlikely to pass “in any form we could support.”
“Think of it this way,” Valone said in an email, “Do you actually think New York, Massachusetts, California, or other “blue” states that don’t want their own citizens carrying concealed firearms would sign on to legislation allowing citizens of other states to carry there?
“In the unlikely event that congressional representatives from those states did accede to the bill,” Valone speculated, “they would extract federal requirements likely to encourage or require states to adopt onerous requirements (e.g. extensive training or monitoring applicants’ social media) that could make our law more restrictive.”
Valone added that he doesn’t want the federal government “meddling” with the state’s concealed handgun law.
According to the N.C. Attorney General’s Office, 36 of the 50 states have reciprocity agreements with North Carolina.
There are currently 25 states that allow constitutional carry, according to the U.S. Concealed Carry Association, but North Carolina is not yet one of them. Alabama’s law went into effect this year.
State legislative records show Rep. Ben Moss was co-sponsor of a constitutional carry bill during the 2021-2022 session of the General Assembly. However, records show the bill never made it out of the judiciary committee.
However, in North Carolina, anyone 18 or older with no prior felony convictions can openly carry a firearm without a permit.
Valone said constitutional carry, “rather than risky federal intervention, is the best path forward.”
Although North Carolinians Against Gun Violence, isn’t working on this specific bill, Executive Director Becky Ceartas said her organization would oppose such a policy and has been against similar state legislation.
“The main reason is that concealed carry reciprocity requires states with good laws about who qualifies for permits to recognize permits issued by states with looser concealed carry laws,” Ceartas said in an email. “You end up having the lowest level of permitting laws become the national standard because people can just get a permit from there and bypass the better laws in their own state.”
On Friday, Hudson also released a statement opposing a rule from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives regulating stabilizing braces.
According to the ATF: “This rule does not affect ‘stabilizing braces’ that are objectively designed and intended as a ‘stabilizing brace’ for use by individuals with disabilities, and not for shouldering the weapon as a rifle. Such stabilizing braces are designed to conform to the arm and not as a buttstock. However, if the firearm with the ‘stabilizing brace’ is a short-barreled rifle, it needs to be registered within 120-days from the date of publication in the Federal Register.”
According to Hudson’s office, the congressman has opposed the rule since 2020.
“This rule jeopardizes the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding gun owners and disabled combat veterans, which is why I led Members of Congress in opposition,” said Rep. Hudson. “I will continue to fight against the ATF’s unconstitutional overreach that could turn millions of citizens into felons.”