Among the majority of states whose laws would be effectively nullified by the federal government if Congress mandated automatic reciprocity are five states that border Idaho — Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, and Wyoming — as well other, diverse states across the country, from Colorado and New Mexico to Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia. Altogether, 32 states and the District of Columbia have rejected the automatic reciprocity that Congressional proposals would impose on the country. If a person has a permit to carry concealed in any state in the country, federally mandated reciprocity would enable him to carry a loaded gun in every state other than his own. He could travel to any state in the country and carry a hidden gun on city streets — even if he wouldn’t be legally permitted to even possess a gun if he lived there. It offends the basic traditions of federalism on which the country was founded. Moreover, each state has made unique decisions not only about who is too dangerous to carry concealed guns in public, but about which people are too dangerous to own firearms at all — including, for example, people convicted of stalking, assault, or violent misdemeanors. And because of a weak permitting system in the state of Idaho, the “card-carrying Aryan Nations member” was able to obtain a state permit to carry a concealed firearm.
Other states that have exercised their police powers by refusing to recognize standard Idaho permits include California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Mexico, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Vermont, and Virginia. A broad and impressive array of law enforcement organizations have spoken out against automatic concealed carry reciprocity. According to the executive director of the Colorado Association of Chiefs of Police, “varying state standards make it very difficult to know if a carry permit from another state is valid.”Letter from Karen Renshaw, Executive Director, Colorado Chiefs of Police Association, to Senator Michael Bennet, concerning Protect America’s Police Officers, Our Citizens, and States Rights by OPPOSING the National Right-to-Carry Reciprocity Act of 2011 (H. Our nation’s law enforcement officers serve on the front lines of the fight against gun violence, and know best what policies reduce public safety risks and what policies exacerbate the problem.
See Idaho State Police, Idaho License to Carry Concealed Weapons, CWL Reciprocity with Other States, at Included in this group are national organizations such as the National Law Enforcement Partnership to Prevent Gun Violence; the International Association of Chiefs of Police; the Police Foundation; the National Latino Peace Officers Association; the Hispanic American Police Command Officers Association; the National Black Police Association; the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives; the National Association of Women Law Enforcement Executives; the International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators; and the Major Cities Chiefs Association, which is comprised of the Chiefs of Police and Sheriffs of the sixty-six largest law enforcement agencies in the United States. 822, National Right-to-Carry-Reciprocity Act of 2011, 157 Cong. These first responders agree: federally mandated concealed carry reciprocity is a recipe for disaster.
Those states do not recognize a standard Idaho permit. State and local organizations are also opposed, including the Alabama Association of Chiefs of Police; the California Police Chiefs Association; the Colorado Association of Chiefs of Police; the Connecticut Police Chiefs Association; the Maryland Chiefs of Police Association; the Massachusetts Police Chiefs Association; the Minnesota Chiefs of Police Association; the Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police; and the Wisconsin Association of Chiefs of Police. Besides representing among the most egregious encroachments on states’ rights proposed in recent Congresses, federally mandated reciprocity would present serious public safety concerns.
States that determined teenagers too young to buy alcohol or criminals convicted of assault or stalking should not be granted concealed carry permits would have to allow such people with out-of-state permits to carry hidden, loaded guns within their borders.
Federally mandated concealed carry reciprocity would be a severe encroachment on states’ rights.