OOIDA urges members to call lawmakers on concealed carry amendment

| 7/14/2009

Truckers hauling high-dollar loads often find themselves targets for thieves looking to make a quick buck by robbing drivers of their possessions, freight and – in some tragic cases – their lives.

However, some thieves may think twice before approaching a truck if they know the driver might be armed.

This is why the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association sent out a national Call to Action on Tuesday, July 14, to its members, urging them to contact their senators to support an amendment that is being offered by Sen. John Thune, R-SD. Thune’s amendment would allow individuals who have concealed carry permits to carry a firearm in other states that also grant concealed carry permits.

Thune’s amendment was one of 35 that was added to the National Defense Authorization Act – or S1390 – which was being debated on the Senate floor on Tuesday.

In June, OOIDA President Jim Johnston sent a letter of support to Thune, who introduced S845, the “Respecting States Rights and Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2009,” because of its potential benefit to truckers who are in harm’s way daily.

“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, unsecure areas are vulnerable to individuals seeking to do them harm, rob them of their possessions and steal the freight they are hauling.”

OOIDA Life Member Tim Begle of Dale, IN, who carries a gun with him when out on the road, said he agrees with Johnston’s statement that Thune’s amendment, if enacted, would go a long way toward helping truckers protect themselves.

“As drivers, we go into some pretty unsecure locations in some of the warehousing and industrial areas that aren’t great places for truckers to be in at night, but are great places for crooks waiting to prey on truckers,” Begle told Land Line on July 14. “I have spoken to many drivers who have even been robbed at truck stops.”

Just showing his weapon to potential thieves has saved him at least twice, Begle said.

“This is an important issue for drivers,” he said. “If a thief knows a driver may be armed, it might be a deterrent for the thief not to take any chances and mess with a driver or his truck.”

– By Clarissa Kell-Holland, staff writer