All About Reciprocity
What is reciprocity?
Reciprocity, the term, does not just apply to the conceal carrying community. Its official definition is “a mutual exchange of privileges.” The concept of reciprocity then can have a lot of applications across society. You will likely hear about it in relation to sociology and government. In fact, reciprocity has been said to be a foundational principle in most social acts.
In this article, we will not be focusing on the general definition or use of reciprocity. Instead, we are going to tell you what it means for people who conceal carry and why you should care.
What does concealed carry reciprocity map mean?
Concealed carry reciprocity map or you can say CCW reciprocity map is the idea that people who are legally able to conceal carry in one state should be able to conceal carry in all states. In 2017 House Republications introduced a law that would make it legal for someone to conceal carry across multiple states if they have a license in a single state. More on this proposed law below.
In short, the idea behind concealed carry reciprocity is that someone who can concealed carry in one state, can conceal carry in them all, but this is not the case and not so simple. We discuss why this matters in the next section.
Why does concealed carry laws matter?
Right now, there is no concealed carry reciprocity. This has resulted in every state having their own concealed carry laws. These laws run the gamut. Some states don’t allow concealed carry at all, while others will recognize concealed carry permits from any other state. There are many states that also land somewhere in the middle of this spectrum.
Advocates of concealed carry reciprocity argue that it is beneficial for everyone involved if concealed carry licenses became more like driver’s licenses. You don’t have to get a new license if you want to drive to a different state, the state just recognizes your license automatically. Obviously, this saves a lot of trouble and concern on your—the gun owner's—part. With concealed carry reciprocity, a person would never have to pour over state maps and read complicated laws again.
Also, many people argue that concealed carry reciprocity is part of the second amendment because it involves a citizen’s right to protect themselves at all times.
What States Can I carry my gun in?
If you have a concealed carry license, there are three different groups of states to bear in mind. The first group honors all concealed carry licenses from all states. The second only honors concealed carry licenses from their own state. And, the final group honors certain types of concealed carry licenses from other states.
Here are the three categories and the states that fall into each.
California, Connecticut, DC, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York
Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan (only honors resident permits from other states), Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Virginia
Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Maine, Minnesota, Montana, New Mexico, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming
Cities and counties with different CCW reciprocity map laws than states
Looking at a CCW reciprocity map rules does not always present the whole story. In fact, the situation is so complicated at the moment that cities and counties may have their own rules that supersede the states. Therefore, you will also want to ensure that any city or county you plan on traveling to also recognizes your concealed carry license.
Forty-five states actually have laws that prevent cities and states from creating their own gun laws. This type of block is called a pre-emption law. Yet, in five states—Connecticut, Hawaii, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New York—you may find different gun laws in certain cities and counties and in others throughout the states. If you plan on concealed carrying in these states, make sure that you are aware of all of the potential rule changes depending on your location.
The way you store your weapon in a vehicle changes from state to state
If you concealed carry your weapon, you will need to keep one other thing in mind: storing your weapon in your vehicle. The laws about concealing a weapon in your vehicle change from state to state. Like other concealed carry laws, there is not universal reciprocity or any standards on the legal way to conceal in a vehicle. Therefore, make sure to research the laws pertaining to concealing a weapon in your vehicle before you cross state lines.
Has the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act been passed?
As mentioned above, the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Laws was presented in the House in 2017. It was combined with another bill that added improvements to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System. The House passed that joint bill on December 6, 2017.
President Trump had initially claimed support for the joint bill, but he instead eventually supported the Fix NICS Act that would make for stricter background checks. President Trump signed the Fix NICS act into law on March 23, 2018. The Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act has therefore not been completely passed/signed into law at this time.
Is it true that Law Enforcement opposes Concealed Carry Reciprocity?
What’s interesting is that both the American Bar Association (ABA) and the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) do not support the Concealed Carry Reciprocity act. Their reasoning for this is that the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act would undermine the state’s laws and put regular citizens and law enforcement personnel at risk.
In this line of argument, the Concealed Carry Reciprocity act does not consider the fact that each state sets its own safety and training standards for concealed carry licensing. Therefore, one person may be much more knowledgeable about concealed carry safety and practices than another from a different state. Both the ABA and IACP do not support the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act because it doesn’t set up a universal set of standards for concealed carry licenses. And, most organizations that have withheld their support are very concerned over the reduction of the state’s laws that the act would create. So, until there are revisions to the Concealed Carry Reciprocity act we probably won’t see it supported by law enforcement personnel anytime soon.
Does the Second Amendment involve reciprocity?
There is nothing in the wording of the Second Amendment that specifically mentioned reciprocity. However, advocates of concealed carry reciprocity argue that the right is implicit in the Second Amendment. They say that because the Second Amendment protects the “right of the people to keep and bear arms,” that concealed carry reciprocity is an essential part of this right.
Concealed carry reciprocity would protect the citizen’s right to bear arms no matter the state, which—advocates argue—would increase their ability to protect themselves and others. Yet, litigation on the Second Amendment goes back a long way and is fairly complicated. To read more about how the Supreme Court has judged Second Amendment rights, go to this article.
Does Reciprocity effect open carry?
Reciprocity is a concept that can be applied to open carry as well as concealed carry. However, the rules in each state will be different. This means that if the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act is eventually passed, it will not affect the reciprocity laws concerning open carry.
Thankfully for people who prefer to open carry, there are many more states that allow open carry without a permit than allow concealed carry without a permit. Yet, there are different rules depending on whether you are open carrying a handgun or long rifle. Still, it is much easier for you to discover which states have open carry reciprocity and which do not. You can check our state links for more information.
Concealed carry reciprocity may seem very confusing, but it doesn’t have to be. To big takeaways from this article can help you keep everything straight. First, there is currently no concealed carry reciprocity in the United States, each state (or city or county) makes their own laws about who can receive a concealed carry license. Second, the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act has not been signed into law, but it sets out a procedure for creating universal reciprocity in the country.
Hopefully, this article has answered all of your questions about concealed carry reciprocity. If you’ve gotten a lot of good information out of this, check out our other articles at Holster HQ. We have product reviews and more informative posts like this one. If you have a question about firearms or firearm ownership, we have the answer at Holster HQ.