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New Congress reintroduces concealed-carry gun legislation

Bill that has record 154 original co-sponsors, including 3 Democrats, would benefit truckers, backer says

Bill would ease regulations for truck drivers with a concealed carry license. (Photo: iStock)

U.S. Rep. Richard Hudson, R-North Carolina, has reintroduced legislation that would make it easier for truck drivers to carry concealed handguns across state lines.

Hudson’s proposal, called the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act (H.R. 38), dropped on Jan. 4 with 154 original co-sponsors, including three Democrats.

“Our Second Amendment rights do not disappear when we cross state lines, and H.R. 38 guarantees that,” Hudson said. “The Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act is a commonsense solution to provide law-abiding citizens the right to conceal carry and travel freely between states without worrying about conflicting state codes or onerous civil suits. I am especially proud to have such widespread and bipartisan support for this measure and will work with my colleagues to get this legislation over the finish line.”

Official text for H.R. 38, which was referred to the House Judiciary Committee, was not immediately available. According to Hudson, the bill would allow anyone with state-issued concealed carry licenses or permits to conceal a handgun in any other state as long as the permit holder follows the laws of that state. It also allows residents of constitutional carry states (those that do not require a permit to carry a concealed firearm) the ability to carry in other states.

Truckers pushed for loosening concealed-carry laws last year amid social justice protests around the country in which truck drivers often found themselves inadvertently caught up. The United States Transportation Alliance, a trucking group formed to fight what it deems government overreach, sought legislation linking commercial driver’s licenses to concealed-carry permits.

Responses to an informal email survey sent to a broad selection of drivers, owner-operators, managers and fleet executives revealed that close to 70% of respondents from companies with 500 or fewer trucks either sometimes or always carry a concealed gun on their persons or in their personal vehicles when they are not on duty.

“Truck drivers are the backbone of our country and understand this issue more than most, as they drive alone with valuable merchandise across state lines every week,” Hudson told FreightWaves last year. “I will continue to fight to advance this bill in Congress and defend the rights of truck drivers and all law-abiding citizens.”

Hudson introduced similar legislation in two previous legislative sessions. In December 2017, the bill passed in the House by a vote of 231-198 but was not taken up in the Senate. A bill introduced in 2019 ended up with 167 co-sponsors and did not make it out of committee.

“With almost 20 million concealed carry permit holders nationwide and five million new gun owners in 2020 alone, national concealed carry reciprocity legislation is more important than ever,” said Tim Schmidt, president and founder of the U.S. Concealed Carry Association, commenting on Hudson’s latest bill.

“The current patchwork of state and local laws is overly complex for even the most conscientious concealed carry permit holders. It puts law-abiding citizens at risk of being charged with a crime or worse, being left in a situation where they cannot defend themselves or their families.”

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  1. mrbigr504

    This really should be a no brainier! Traveling with thousands of dollars worth of cargo and you want me to do what with this dirt rock and a slingshot?

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John Gallagher

Based in Washington, D.C., John specializes in regulation and legislation affecting all sectors of freight transportation. He has covered rail, trucking and maritime issues since 1993 for a variety of publications based in the U.S. and the U.K. John began business reporting in 1993 at Broadcasting & Cable Magazine. He graduated from Florida State University majoring in English and business.