FIND GUN LAWS BY STATE

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About the author
ABOUT THE AUTHOR Bryan L. Ciyou is a trial and appellate attorney at the Indianapolis law firm of Ciyou & Dixon, P.C. He earned his BA with distinction and graduated through the honors program, along with his JD,... Read More

Myth-Busters

I. Introduction

In the reciprocity discussion, there are a number of pervasive myths. Some of this urban legend does not equate to the potential for unlawful acts or omission in carrying a handgun in a reciprocal state. However, to properly comply with the law, it is important to increase Your base knowledge and stay abreast of changes in law over time. Dismissing myths, not inadvertently perpetuating them, is one step in this process. The myths:

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II. “In a Reciprocal State, Follow Law of State Issuing License”

A pervasive and fundamentally unsound view held by many licensees is that in carrying a handgun in a reciprocal state, he or she has to follow the law of the state that issued the license. That is MYTH.  The licensee must follow the laws of any state in which he or she carries a concealed handgun.

Driver’s License Companion. A driver’s license may help You understand the legal distinction if You once held this belief. When You are driving in a state that has a slower speed limit, say 55 MPH, but Your state of residence has a 65 MPH speed limit, You can only go 55 MPH in the state in which You are in. That other state’s law applies. Your driver’s license is recognized only to allow You to drive there in accordance with the laws of that state.

Crossing State Boarders. Laws regarding how a firearm may be stored in a vehicle while driving vary from state-to-state. For instance, an Indiana resident with a CCP is allowed to have a loaded firearm in their vehicle when they travel in Indiana. However, if the licensee drives into the District of Columbia, they must abide by D.C.’s firearm-transfer law and unload the ammunition from their firearm and store it where it is not readily accessible.

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III. “A Federal License Exists”

There is no federal license available to civilians to authorize reciprocity in each and every other state. These bills are routinely floated in Congress, but have yet to become law. If they should ever pass, it is likely there will still be a great number of exceptions in deference to states and state sovereignty. This is a MYTH.

Some of this confusion likely stems from the passage of H.R. 218, titled the “Law Enforcement Officers’ Safety Act of 2004.”  This federal law allows qualified off-duty and certain retired police officers to carry a concealed handgun in any other state, subject to following some state restrictions, such as on government property.  This only applies to this narrow set of people.

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IV. “A CCP Cannot be Revoked”

As an example, any time a licensee is convicted of a felony, he or she is disqualified from possessing a firearm. The license is de facto revoked at that time. Several states have provisions that require a court to notify the licensing agency (often an arm of law enforcement) to suspend the license and begin the revocation process.

In other states, there is an affirmative duty on the licensee to self-disclose certain life developments that may call into question their status as a licensee, such as a conviction for domestic violence.  A license to carry can be revoked, and statements to the contrary are MYTH.

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V. “A License Allows Carry in All Places in State”

A number of licensees believe their license to carry in their state of issuance or in reciprocal states allows carry in all places in that state. However, this is a MYTH. In even the most liberal states vis-à-vis gun rights, there are a number of places a person cannot carry a handgun with a license.

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VI. “The Second Amendment Allows Carry in All Places”

Many believe that the Second Amendment allows carrying of a handgun or other firearm or its possession in all places, at all times. This view is a MYTH and is not supported by even the U.S. Supreme Court’s most favorable Second Amendment analysis.

The Heller decision set out that the right to have firearms, including a handgun, is an individual right, not a collective right of the states’ National Guards, police, and U.S. Government. The City of Chicago case applied the constitutional right to bear arms applied to the states through the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. Neither case indicated handguns could not be regulated.

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VII. “Federal Law Only Applies to Federal Property”

Under the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution, federal law is supreme to state law and Congress has adopted firearms regulation, including handguns, at airports and schools that regulates or prohibits firearms, even with a license. The violation of these provisions may subject the person to arrest, prosecution, and imprisonment in the federal system. This view of federal law too is MYTH.

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VIII. “The Safe Passage Provision Covers Extended Stays”

FOPA’s Safe Passage Provision (SPP) protects those who are transporting firearms for lawful purposes from local restrictions that would otherwise prohibit passage. So long as the driver complies with state and local laws governing transportation of firearms, the driver may make briefs stops and be protected under the SPP. The view that the SPP protects gun owners during extended stops is a MYTH.

Extended Stops. An Indiana gun owner properly stores and transports his assault rifle while traveling through Chicago and stops overnight there. Despite the fact that his assault rifle was legal in Indiana and properly stored in his vehicle, the gun owner would be in violation of Chicago’s municipal code banning possession of assault rifles. The gun owner is protected under the SPP only if his stops in Chicago are brief. Here, the overnight stay would not be protected under the SPP.

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IX. “You Don’t Need a Background Check to Buy a Gun at a Gun Show”

Known as the “Gun Show Loophole,” this is a common misconception. Anytime anyone buys a firearm from an FFL, they must undergo a background check, even at a gun show. Confusion arises over the fact that in many states, private transactions between two residents of that state do not require a background check. If You meet up with someone to buy or sell a gun, no background check is required, in many states. Gun shows are popular locations for private parties to meet to perform gun sales; some people go to gun shows for the purpose of buying or selling guns to other patrons. As long as neither party holds an FFL, these transactions generally do not require a background check. The vast majority of vendors at gun shows are FFL holders, however, and You must undergo a background check when buying a firearm from them.

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X. Conclusion

To advance reciprocity, it is important to have meaningful discussions on the topic with accurate information. Hopefully, You do not (or no longer) subscribe to any of these myths.  Some of them could literally land You in federal prison.

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FIND GUN LAWS BY STATE

Table of Contents

About the author
ABOUT THE AUTHOR Bryan L. Ciyou is a trial and appellate attorney at the Indianapolis law firm of Ciyou & Dixon, P.C. He earned his BA with distinction and graduated through the honors program, along with his JD,... Read More