The Case For Universal Concealed Handgun Reciprocity

By Roger J. Katz

Handgun Concealed Carry Reciprocity
The Case For Universal Concealed Handgun Reciprocity
The Arbalest Quarrel
The Arbalest Quarrel

New York, N.Y. –-( Survival is a basic instinct of every living organism. The impulse to survive is biological and absolute.

And, for man, the desire to survive is also a moral imperative. A threat to one’s survival activates the “fight or flight” response. If a person cannot reasonably flee from a threat to his or her survival, that person must, and will, and ought to fight for his or her survival.

And, if one must fight, no better protection exists than that provided by a firearm.

Many Americans were brought up with firearms. They were taught how to use a firearm properly and safely. They are comfortable with firearms.

Other Americans are not. And that is fine. Those people who do not feel comfortable possessing firearms need not do so.

Firearms’ owners do not impose their will on others. But, by the same token, those Americans who are not comfortable possessing firearms should not prevent other Americans who wish to possess firearms from doing so.

Concealed Carry Reciprocity
The Founders of our Republic recognized a person’s right to protect his or her life. That right is embodied in the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

The Founders of our Republic recognized a person’s right to protect his or her life. That right is embodied in the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Since the right of the individual to keep and bear arms is a natural right, the Constitution does not create the right but simply exemplifies it. And, for those Americans who happen to doubt that the right to keep and bear arms is an individual right, the U.S. Supreme Court laid that doubt to rest with its decision in the 2008 Heller case.

The Court made clear that the right to keep and bear arms is an individual right, unconnected with service in a militia, to be used for traditional lawful purposes such as self-defense.

Now, since the Bill of Rights traditionally applied to the Federal Government, the question arose whether the Heller case also applies to the States. That question, too, was laid to rest in the 2010 McDonald case. The Supreme Court ruled that the individual right of self-defense applies to the States through the Fourteenth Amendment.

Unfortunately, many States undermine the clear import of these two U.S. Supreme Court cases by keeping in place restrictive and oppressive firearms’ laws and by focusing their efforts in creating ever more restrictive and oppressive firearms’ laws to confound and frustrate gun owners.

To overcome obstacles posed by myriad, inconsistent firearms’ laws, some State Legislatures have created a mechanism by which a resident, who holds a valid concealed handgun carry permit or license as issued in one State, may legally carry a handgun in another State without fear of arrest. This mechanism is known as “reciprocity.”

State “concealed handgun carry” reciprocity is not difficult to understand. It works much like State motor vehicle license reciprocity.

Presently, 18 States do recognize the validity of unrestricted concealed handgun carry licenses issued by other States. Most States, unfortunately, do not. Recognition of unrestricted concealed handgun carry license reciprocity by all the States would help eliminate the problem of inconsistent gun laws existent between and among the States and, too, relieve a law-abiding American from the burden of acquiring and holding multiple concealed handgun licenses. This would do much to safeguard the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms. Universal unrestricted concealed handgun license reciprocity among the States would overcome a host of obstacles to Americans’ exercise of their Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms.

Concealed Carry License
Presently, 18 States do recognize the validity of unrestricted concealed handgun carry licenses issued by other States. Most States, unfortunately, do not.

We do not, at present, see universal unrestricted concealed handgun license reciprocity because antigun legislatures in many States do not respect the Second Amendment. Those State legislatures deliberately place obstacles in their own resident citizen’s path to gun ownership and possession, and so, not surprisingly, they refuse to provide for reciprocity to non-residents.

Traveling across State lines, whether on business or for pleasure, should not create an either/or situation for an American citizen. But that, unfortunately, is what we see. The law-abiding American citizen must either forego the acquisition of a multiplicity of concealed handgun carry licenses thereby saving time, and money, and energy but at the cost of relinquishing the citizen’s right of self-defense; or that citizen must jump through hoops to first acquire and then constantly renew a plethora of concealed handgun carry licenses that serve best to protect his life, but at the cost of time, money, and energy necessary to acquire the licenses initially and then to retain them through time. Which one of these two options should he choose? Which one of these two options would you choose? Why should the law-abiding American citizen have to make a choice at all in view of the Second Amendment imperative?

Clearly, the law-abiding American citizen should not have to undergo a multitude of time-consuming, extraordinarily arduous, repetitious and invariably wasteful administrative processes in order to secure his or her safety through the best means available – namely that provided by a handgun.

Read the longer related article “A Road Trip With A Handgun: The Case For Universal State Reciprocity” here at Arbalest Quarrel :

About The Arbalest Quarrel
Arbalest Group created `The Arbalest Quarrel’ website for a special purpose. That purpose is to educate the American public about recent Federal and State firearms control legislation. No other website, to our knowledge, provides as deep an analysis or as thorough an analysis. Arbalest Group offers this information free.

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We have been losing our rights incrementally. We need to start taking them back the same way. As I see it the next logical step is to enforce the Privledges and Immunities clause of the Constitution. As an example MA allows its residents to get a CCW but effectively bars out of state citizens state from getting one. While I would like for MA to recognize my CT CCW the first step would be to force them to allow an out of state US citizen to get a MA CCW under the same exact rules as an in state resident.… Read more »


From a Constitutional Attn. Rich your instincts are excellent – the bill is a dastardly trick and a Trojan horse for institutionalizing licenses, permits, national ID cards, etc. And the end game of all those licenses, permits, national ID cards and such is eventual confiscation of all arms. And after that extermination. Here is the 2014 edition: Also, the federal government has no constitutional authority to make ANY laws dictating who may and who may not carry arms; or under what circumstances people may and may not carry arms across State borders! Arms control of the people is not… Read more »


I truly do not understand this argument. We ALREADY have a reciprocity law, it is called the Second Amendment. We just have states that have refuse to abide by that law. Those states need to be held accountable for their violation of our Rights and the violation of the Second Amendment! Period. We DO NOT need more laws, just the enforcement of the laws we already have starting with the supreme laws of the land!


Let’s not refer to the Second Amendment as one’s right of self-defense. The Second Amendment is one right, and the right of self-defense is another separate right. Two rights are better than one. Let’s advocate for both, and defend each. To bolster the case for national concealed carry, I would add that criminals know the person most likely to be armed is a State resident. When we have national concealed carry, a criminal’s job only becomes more difficult. For their own safety, criminals will have to assume people driving cars with out-of-State license plates are carrying their lawfully-owned firearms too,… Read more »


My state just last year passed CC laws. It would be nice if there were nation wide reciprocation laws so it is not such patchwork for people who travel.

jim smith

While the reciprocity laws among states are a nuisance, they affect relatively few gun owners – but a national reciprocity system (if that’s what being proposed) would allow the feds to affect every gun owner and I think it’s a bad idea. I cite as an example the federal takeover of driver’s licensing requirements for heavy trucks. Before the requirement of a federally sanctioned commercial driver’s license (CDL) in 1986, anyone with a driver’s license could drive a heavy truck (semi class) after a little instruction and practice. Now it requires extensive testing, certification and training and in many cases… Read more »


Driving is a Privilege while “bearing arms” is a Right. Not to mention that the whole CCWP process is in many respects a slap at that Right from the start. But incrementally we can move to respecting that Right…just as the Liberals moved incrementally to destroy it. Liberals refuse to acknowledge the research that shows that where citizens are armed, crime goes down. They go out of there way to pervert the data and the conclusions. Probably, in my opinion, because they are too emotionally immature to handle the responsibility and, given their inherent hubric nature, do not think anyone… Read more »


I guess I’m fortunate in the sense that the most tyrannical,socialist,anti 2A states in the country are states I personally could care less about and would never go to under any circumstances. In the big picture though, every state should be governed and the power and weight of the 2A and the constitution in its entire should be the same whether it’s NY,AZ,RI,CT,CA,TX,or any other state. A CHL (in TX) or CCW’s issued in state #1 should be like a driver license in all states thru #50 as far as the legalities of a firearm in your legal possession are… Read more »


I just avoid those states if at all possible. I’m planning a trip to WI next year along with several others. They plotted a course through IL since that is the shortest way. I plotted a course around IL since it doesn’t have reciprocity and had to enlighten them on why I chose that route. It might be a little longer, but at least I don’t have to disarm.


I believe you can drive through IL with your firearm on you. If you stop then you have to unload and leave it in your locked vehicle. Hope you enjoy WI.