NRA Sponsors Reciprocity Bill?

September 12th, 2011

This article is so poorly written, I have no idea what the proposed law actually holds, though I gather that it is similar to something I blogged about some time ago–if I have a conceal carry permit in one state, it would be valid in any other state (other than Illinois and Washington, D.C.).

One law prof say it is unconstitutional:

The bill “effectively prevents a state from controlling who has guns within the state, which has always been a core police power function of state government,” said John Donohue, a professor at Stanford Law School, who said he thinks it would be held unconstitutional. “It is so ironic that it is the conservatives who are trying to push this encroachment, since they usually are very active in championing states’ rights.”

Larry Tribe doesn’t like it:

Largely because of the differing standards among “shall issue” and “may issue” states, the bill raises what Harvard University professor of constitutional law Laurence Tribe calls “interesting and difficult constitutional questions.”

Tribe said the bill is “an unprecedented attempt by Congress” to require states with more stringent concealed carry laws to accede to “the more permissive laws of whichever state initially licensed someone’s carrying of a concealed weapon.”

Dave Kopel does:

The inability to carry a concealed firearm might dissuade a business traveler from visiting an unfamiliar and possibly dangerous place, thus interfering with his right to conduct commerce via interstate travel, as guaranteed by the commerce clause, Kopel said.

I think this law would probably be unconstitutional (for reasons that may surprise you), as well as bad policy. Now if this was an interstate compact, I would have no problem. But the federal government is imposing on the states a requirement that they have to recognize permits from other states. Now if there was some base-line standard of the Second Amendment, and the right to carry (coming soon to SCOTUS), that standard should be valid in all states. But many of these states offer gun rights above and beyond the federal constitution. States should not, and cannot, be required to offer stronger protections for rights than the federal constitution requires.

Anyway, this op-ed is terrible. It is obvious the author doesn’t know jack shit about the Second Amendment or Heller, and just called some random law profs for opinions.