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Opinion-editorial
Sensible concealed carry bill would protect drivers

U.S. Sen. John Thune
R-South Dakota

 

Responsible firearm ownership is a freedom that many American citizens rightly hold dear. Protecting one’s life and property is a cherished part of our culture, and more importantly it is necessary for many to secure their livelihoods. Responsible concealed carry laws can help protect drivers on the road, and there are steps Congress can take to remove restrictions on those who frequently cross state lines.

I have introduced a bill in the Senate, the Respecting States Rights and Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act, bill number S371, which would allow lawfully permitted concealed carry permit holders the ability to possess a firearm in other states that have similar concealed carry laws. Currently, 48 states have laws permitting some form of concealed carry. However, not all states recognize the concealed carry permits of other states.

Above all, this legislation would eliminate the need for states to enter into complicated, confusing compacts with other states. My bill would not establish a national concealed carry law; states wishing to prohibit concealed carry would still be able to do so. Individuals carrying permitted concealed weapons in other states would be required to abide by that particular state’s firearms laws, including prohibitions on concealed weapons in certain areas, such as schools. Federal and state laws prohibiting firearm ownership and concealed carry permits by certain individuals, such as convicted felons, would still apply as well.

Research demonstrates that states with concealed carry laws enjoy significantly lower rates of violent crime than those states that do not. This legislation is a commonsense measure that would strengthen public safety across the nation while at the same time reaffirming one of our nation’s most fundamental rights.

Truck drivers face many hazards in performing their jobs, including irregular work hours and routes in remote areas of the country. Law-abiding firearm owners shouldn’t have to check their security at the state line, and my bill would make it easier for truck drivers and others to practice responsible self-defense while at the same time honoring state and local firearm laws. LL

 

Sen. John Thune, R-SD, is in his first term in the U.S. Senate. Most importantly to truckers, he serves on the powerful Science & Transportation Committee.