Pennsylvania resident Shaneen Allen, who was pardoned by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, has helped prompt the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017.
The firearm carry bill was passed by the U.S. House last month, but still has to pass through the Senate.
If passed, the act would allow those who possess a permit for concealed carry to carry in all states that allow concealed carry, which currently is all 50 U.S. states, with some state limitations.
Under the new bill, states such as New Jersey, which allow limited concealed carry permits, would have to allow concealed carry for people from other states with a permit from that state.
However, some states have different requirements to become permitted.
“Some states allow you to take classes online without showing any proficiency in shooting,” said TammyJo McCleney, a state-certified licensed-to-carry instructor, who teaches classes in Killeen.
To become licensed to carry in Texas, you must be 21 years of age, pass all federal requirements for purchase, participate in a training class that is at least four hours, but not more than six hours long, and demonstrate handgun proficiency, as deemed by a state-certified instructor.
“All LTC (licensed to carry) instructors should be hammering home in their classes that it is the responsibility of the gun owner to know the laws in other states if you’re traveling, and observe them,” said McCleney.
A color-coded map of reciprocity in other states for permitted Texans is available on http://www.stateoftexaschl.com/chl-faqs/reciprocity/.
According to an Associated Press article, Allen was arrested in New Jersey for carrying her concealed weapon in her vehicle.
Allen was permitted to carry concealed through Pennsylvania and was traveling in New Jersey when she was pulled over and arrested.
To receive a permit to carry in Pennsylvania, you must be 21 years of age, pass the required federal laws for purchasing a firearm, completion of an application and required fee. A training class is not required.
Killeen gun store owners also advise local firearms owners to know the laws of other states.
“Whether you buy a gun here or not, we advise all the time that while traveling to a different state, be knowledgeable of the gun laws in all the states you will be traveling through, and observe their laws,” said Cathy Cheadle, manager of Guns Galore in Killeen.
Currently, the law in New Jersey allows permitted carriers to transport their gun into the state, under the following conditions: “Unloaded and contained in a closed and fastened case, gun box, securely tied package, or locked in the trunk of the automobile in which it is being transported, and in the course of travel, shall include only such deviations as are reasonably necessary under the circumstances,” said the state’s Department of Law and Public Safety, http://www.njsp.org/firearms/transport-firearm.shtml.
McCleney said she doesn’t think the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017 will pass, but if it does, “I don’t see how it will work.”
However, she said it would be helpful if there was a more standardized law, in which the same requirements and prohibitive places could be in place across state lines.
“Right now, that’s the most confusing thing for people. You’re trying to get them trained to use a firearm, get them to understand the importance of making split, life-or-death decisions, and on top of that, they have all this stuff to memorize. Where you can and can’t go, and it’s different for every state, and it’s just too much for some people,” McCleney said.
“I think if we just had a blanket, across-the-states’ law ... then it would be so much easier, and people wouldn’t get into trouble.”
In Texas, if there is a posting stating, “Handguns are prohibited,” also known as the 30.06 law, carrying a handgun is not allowed.
Some places do not have to post the signs, and are automatically prohibited for guns, such as schools, professional sporting events and locations that have 51 percent or more in alcohol sales.