If you live in states such as Arizona, Vermont, Alaska, and parts of Wyoming where you don't need a permit, you just carry a gun, and you don't want to travel outside your state with your firearm, you probably don't pay much attention to reciprocity laws. For the rest of us, however, it's good to know that Republican senators are supporting legislation that would allow people with state-issued permits for concealed weapons to use the permits in other states with concealed-carry laws.
The Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2014, introduced Republican Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, would require states to respect other states' permits much in the way each state respects the drivers' licenses of those who are not residents. "Second Amendment rights shouldn't stop at the state line," said Republican Sen. Thad Cochran, of Mississippi, a co-sponsor of the legislation. "It makes sense to allow law-abiding gun owners to take their concealed-permit privileges with them to states that also allow concealed-carry permits."
Right now, there is such a patchwork of laws across state lines and it's very frustrating and time consuming to keep them all straight. For example, if you live in Wisconsin but drive to Tennessee with your firearm, you are committing a felony by traveling through Illinois with your gun. This just seems plain silly. Why should anyone have to give up their rights to self-defense simply by driving through another state?
Nationwide, an estimated 8 million to 10 million citizens legally carry guns, a jump from about 20 years ago, when the figure was less than 1 million. As the number of people seeking concealed-carry permits continues to rise across the states, lawmakers are seeking a national standard that is enforced much like drivers' license laws. Some groups oppose such national measures. It's not that they wouldn't love for concealed-weapons permits to have reciprocity in all states, but some fear that if the federal government enters this jurisdiction, it may well be able to regulate this jurisdiction and prescribe regulations on people who have a permit, forcing such a tremendous amount of training or liability insurance and all kinds of other pains and horrors. Good point.
By and large, the vast majority of people who apply for a concealed-carry permit and who are carrying a firearm legally are not the people who are going to be committing crimes with a firearm— whether in the state where they live or a state they would drive to or through. The aim of responsible Americans who own guns is to level the playing field. In the unlikely event that they are attacked, they can meet force with force.