Senators reintroduce conceal carry bill

By Clarissa Kell-Holland, Land Line staff writer | 3/21/2012

U.S. Sens. John Thune, R-SD, and David Vitter, R-LA, introduced a bill on March 20 that would allow individuals who have concealed carry permits in their home states to carry a firearm in other states that also grant concealed carry permits.

Their bill – S2213 – The Respecting States’ Rights and Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act – already has 28 cosponsors. Thune and Vitter introduced a similar bill back in 2009 that the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association also supported. The bill fell two votes shy of passage.

Often, truck drivers are in a catch-22 about what they can legally do to protect themselves while out on the road. That’s because differing city, county, state laws or company policies make it nearly impossible to legally comply with concealed carry laws.

As the economy continues to struggle, criminals view truckers as easy targets because of their high-dollar loads and the fact that many drivers are unarmed.

As OOIDA President and CEO Jim Johnston explained in his letter of support for Thune’s similar bill in 2009, “drivers who are forced to park in unsafe areas are vulnerable to individuals seeking to do them harm, rob them of their possessions, and steal the freight they are hauling.

The bill has been sent to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

“Rather than establish a national standard, our bill will ensure that law-abiding citizens are able to carry concealed firearms while at the same time respecting the laws of the respective states they visit.” Thune said in the release about the bill.

The bill would not force Illinois and the District of Columbia, which currently prohibit concealed carry, to change their laws.

According to the release, the bill “would also respect individual state laws regarding specific locations where firearms are prohibited.”

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