Republicans in the U.S. Senate are trying again on a bill to allow concealed carry privileges across state lines. Texas Sen. John Cornyn has re-introduced the Constitutional Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act. The legislation allows those with concealed carry privileges in their home state to exercise those privileges in any other state with concealed carry laws, similar to the way driver's licenses are recognized across state lines.
Sen. Cornyn introduced the bill two years ago, but it ended up attached to another House bill and ultimately was stripped out of that bill when it returned to the Senate. This time, the bill has 31 co-sponsors, all Republicans, including fellow Texas Sen. Ted Cruz. "This bill focuses on two of our country's most fundamental constitutional protections -- the Second Amendment's right of citizens to keep and bear arms and the Tenth Amendment's right of states to make laws best-suited for their residents," says Cornyn in a statement.
Gun rights advocates have long pushed for concealed carry reciprocity. C.J. Grisham, president of Open Carry Texas, tells KTRH this legislation is necessary to counter anti-gun laws in more liberal states. "They don't believe that the Second Amendment is applicable in all 50 states, and that someone, once they cross a border, suddenly loses their right to keep and bear arms," he says. "The Second Amendment isn't a state-specific right...I should have a right—whether I'm in Texas or Florida or New York—to keep and bear arms."
However, Grisham believes even if the Senate passes the bill, it is likely doomed in the new Democrat-controlled House. "I blame the Republicans for sitting around (the last two years) twiddling their thumbs, and now we've lost any option to pass anything, so I think this is all for show," says Grisham. "Now we're going to have the House Democrats trying to take away our rights, we're going to have the Senate Republicans trying to expand our rights, and meanwhile nothing is going to get done."