According to information provided by the National Rifle Association, Alaska currently recognizes concealed carry permits from 13 different states. Twenty-three states recognize a concealed carry permit from Alaska. Montana recognizes a concealed carry permit from Georgia; however, Georgia doesn\'t recognize a CCW from Montana. Eighteen of the 44 states that offer some form of concealed carry permit don\'t recognize permits from any states but their own. Confused yet? You\'re not alone. Representative Cliff Sterns (R-Fla.) has introduced in both the 106th and 107th Congresses a bill that could dramatically simplify the reciprocity of concealed carry laws in the United States. H.R. 382 would create a law allowing for the intra-state concealed carry of guns. Essentially, if you have a valid concealed carry permit from your home state, it would be good in any of the other 49.
Stearns said this bill is a fundamental right.
\"Why can\'t other states participate by having reciprocity between states, much like a [driver\'s] license allows you to drive in other states? Why can\'t a concealed weapons permit that you get from Florida allow you to come into Washington, D.C., or New York and carry a concealed weapon? I think it would give people a fundamental right to self-defense, and that right should not be surrendered just because it crosses a state line,\" he said.
H.R. 382 has 23 co-sponsors and has been referred to the Judiciary Committee. Stearns admits that H.R. 382 needs more co-sponsors, but he believes there will be a version of this bill enacted into law at some time.
\"I think that some type of measure like this will be voted into law. It could [start] by allowing all former police officers and law enforcement officials who have retired to carry concealed weapons. It then could extend to certain people and eventually to the entire population,\" Sterns suggested.
A bill similar to what Stearns was referring to, H.R. 218, was introduced to the 106th Congress. It would permit statewide reciprocity for retired law enforcement officials. Ted Nugent, pro-Second Amendment rock star, has lobbied for the bill.
\"I carry a Glock M20 10mm--with many spare mags-- 24/7. As a sworn deputy sheriff in Michigan, Wisconsin, Washington and Tennessee, my shield gets me reciprocity nationwide. My God-given right to protect myself is global on all pragmatic, moral, intellectual and spiritual levels. It\'s not just my right, it\'s my duty. I work closely with LEAA [Law Enforcement Alliance of America] for H.R. 218 and all law upgrades to return our proper Second Amendment rights nationwide,\" Nugent said.
Knowing where you can and can\'t carry isn\'t always clear in your own state, let alone neighboring states. There are currently six state governments that recognize 40 or more other states'concealed carry permits: Idaho, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Montana and Utah. Kansas, Nebraska, Missouri, Illinois, Ohio and Wisconsin are the only states that do not allow concealed weapon permits at all. Vermont is the only state in which a permit is not required to carry a concealed weapon.
There are several different resources people can use to determine if their CCW permit from their state is reciprocal with another state. The National Rifle Association offers a Guide to Right-To-Carry Reciprocity and Recognition publication on its website, nra.org, free of charge. This guide provides simple, useful information about which states recognize each other\'s concealed carry permits.
While guides like these are handy, it\'s often necessary to double-check with state authorities about any pending law changes. The NRA provides that information as well by giving the addresses and phone numbers for key government offices. The Guide to Right-To-Carry Reciprocity and Recognition also features information on the issuing authority for each state, the cost and term of the permit and the type of right-to-carry law that exists in each state: either a \"shall issue\" or \"discretionary issue.\"
Under a \"shall issue\"-type law, if said person meets the qualifications to obtain a CCW, the issuing authority must grant a permit.
\"Discretionary issue\" laws are much more vague. The issuing authority--whether that be the county sheriff, chief of police or even Departments of State Police, Firearms Record Bureau (Massachusetts)-- will determine whether said person should have or needs a CCW.
There are several ongoing CCW battles throughout the U.S. The New Mexico Supreme Court recently declared its concealed carry law was unconstitutional. The law, as it was written, allowed municipalities to ban CCWs. Ohio is also awaiting a ruling from its Supreme Court regarding CCW permits. Last January a Hamilton County, Ohio, court ruled that citizens living in that county could carry concealed if they could prove their profession required it on a discretionary basis. So despite Ohio not allowing concealed carry permits, a county in Ohio ruled that it was permissible.
Until bills like H.R. 382 are enacted into law, understanding and knowing your state\'s reciprocity agreement with other states will keep you out of trouble.