The Trace decodes the National Rifle Association’s latest top legislative priority: a federal law that would create national reciprocity for concealed-carry licenses, requiring every state to accept the permits of the other 49, regardless of differences in standards for who is eligible to bring a hidden gun into public spaces. Bills establishing national concealed-carry reciprocity are already filed in both chambers of Congress. As NRA members gather for their annual convention in Atlanta this weekend, the group will kick off the blitz for a policy that Trump has promised to deliver, even as gun safety groups are rallying to deny the NRA the victory.
Supporters say the law would in essence create a driver’s-license-style system for carrying a gun. Critics call it a recipe for shootouts between tourists on busy city streets. Licenses to carry concealed guns are issued by state and local authorities, who also decide which outside licenses they’ll accept. The policy the NRA is championing would require reciprocity but would not create a national standard for concealed carry. State laws vary widely. Massachusetts, California, New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Delaware and Hawaii require applicants to show a specific need for a gun. But 30 states have “shall issue” laws, where most people who want a permit get one.