Everyone has a strong opinion on guns and their accessibility. In December of 2017, the United States House of Representatives passed the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act, a polarizing bill that would allow concealed carry license holders from one state to legally possess a concealed handgun in any other state that permits concealed carry. Previously, each state decided which, if any, out-of-state concealed carry licenses it would recognize. Now, the federal government has essentially mandated that all out-of-state licenses be recognized.

The Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act is a victory for anyone that wants to see less government intrusion into the right to bear arms. For people who believe in stricter gun control, on the other hand, the bill does have a silver lining: it mandates improvement to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System, which helps ensure that guns aren’t sold to the wrong people. Additionally, the bill requires the Justice Department to consider a ban on bump stocks, which gained considerable attention after the 2017 Las Vegas shooting, which left 58 people dead and 546 injured.

Remaining compliant with complex firearm laws can be challenging and the penalties for a misstep can be costly. If you have been charged with a crime in Pennsylvania regarding the purchase, possession or transport of an otherwise legal firearm, you should consult an experienced Philadelphia weapons attorney with Fiennam Defense right away.

Call (215) 839-9529 or submit a request online.

What Effect Might the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act Have in Pennsylvania?

There are several ways in which the proposed law could affect Pennsylvanians:

  • Anyone from out of state with a concealed carry permit (or the unlicensed privilege to carry a concealed weapon, such as people from Vermont) would be allowed to carry a concealed weapon in Pennsylvania. Out of state visitors must comply with Pennsylvania’s concealed carry restrictions, including having their photo identification and concealed carry license on their person (if applicable) at all times.
  • Pennsylvanians would be able to carry concealed weapons in any other state that allows concealed carry, including “may issue” states, so long as they have their photo ID and concealed carry permit with them. This means that Pennsylvanians might carry their concealed handguns in jurisdictions as restrictive as Illinois or California.
  • Anyone with concealed carry privileges (whether in Pennsylvania or in another state) would be allowed to carry their concealed weapon legally on federal land that is open to the public.
  • Off-duty police officers would have the privilege to carry concealed weapons onto school property.
  • Carrying a concealed weapon in a school zone is no longer a federal crime.

Under current law, people licensed for concealed carry in the following states face restrictions or prohibitions on carrying concealed firearms in Pennsylvania:

  • Arizona
  • Florida
  • Idaho
  • North Dakota
  • Utah
  • Vermont
  • Virginia

Conversely, the following states refuse to recognize Pennsylvania’s concealed carry permits:

  • California
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • Hawaii
  • Illinois
  • Maine
  • Massachusetts
  • Maryland
  • Minnesota
  • Nebraska
  • Nevada
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • New Mexico
  • Oregon
  • Rhode Island
  • South Carolina
  • Washington
  • Washington D.C.
  • Wyoming

Should the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act become law, you could carry a concealed weapon in any of these states with a valid Pennsylvania concealed carry license.

Will the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act Become Law?

To say this bill is controversial is an understatement. Conservatives, libertarians, and gun rights advocates are ecstatic, with the bill’s sponsor Richard Hudson (R-NC) considering it to be “one of the most important pro-Second Amendment measures in Congress.” Representative John Rutherford (R-FL) stated: “I do not believe that my right to protect myself, to protect my family, should end at the state line.”

Conversely, most Democrats and liberals, are appalled by the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act. In the wake of 2017’s high-profile mass shootings, they believe that more gun control is the answer. The liberal caucus is likely to filibuster the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act when it reaches the Senate, which would require the bill to pass with a 60/40 supermajority. Thus, the bill can only pass the Senate with the support of some Democrats.

Even if the bill passes the Senate and turns into law, it may be vulnerable to a constitutional challenge. According to Lindsay Nichols, a senior attorney at the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act “removes the protections that the states have provided to their citizens … and there are some questions about whether the federal government can deprive states of that authority.”

Your Gun Rights May Need Protection from a Skilled Attorney

At Fienman Defense, we serve our clients by fiercely advocating on their behalf and staying abreast of legal developments that could affect their rights and interests. A charge for illegal possession of concealed weapons can turn your life upside down. The penalties can include expensive fines, the forfeiture of your gun rights, a damning conviction on your record, and even the possibility of time in custody, but a Philadelphia weapons lawyer can help you avoid these devastating consequences.

If you have been charged with a weapons crime, or want to learn more about your rights and duties as a Pennsylvania gun owner, call us today at (215) 839-9529 for a free consultation,

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