On Friday, June 12, the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association sent a letter of support to a lawmaker who has introduced a bill in the U.S. Senate that would allow drivers to protect themselves while out on the road.
The bill – S845 – “The Respecting States Rights and Concealed Reciprocity Act of 2009” was introduced by Sen. John Thune, R-SD, and has 22 co-sponsors.
The bill seeks to allow “citizens who have concealed carry permits from the state in which they reside to carry concealed firearms in another state that grants concealed carry permits, if the individual complies with the laws of the state.”
According to S845, “the bill does not establish national standards for concealed carry, nor does it provide for a national carry permit.” The bill has been referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee.
OOIDA President Jim Johnston wrote in the letter that if enacted, the legislation would make significant strides “toward ensuring the safety of truck drivers when they are on the road and away from the security of their home.”
“Every day the nationwide shortage of safe and secure truck parking threatens the well being of Americans who make their living behind the wheel of commercial motor vehicles,” Johnston wrote. “Drivers who are forced to park in unsafe, unsecured areas are vulnerable to individuals seeking to do them harm, rob them of their possessions and steal the freight they are hauling.”
On average, OOIDA members are away from home more than 240 nights per year. A Land Line poll found that more than 40 percent of respondents had either had “close calls” or had found themselves victims of violence while parked.
Johnston said that even though truckers are susceptible to harm and theft, “they are effectively prohibited from carrying a weapon to defend themselves because of the lack of consistent reciprocity between jurisdictions.”
He added that S845 will provide those “hardworking men and women with an opportunity to protect themselves and their cargo when they most need it.”
– By Clarissa Kell-Holland, staff writer