Guns and sexual offenders: strange bedfellows?

By Sandy . . . A bill is working its way through Congress for states to honor, or to reciprocate with, the concealed carry gun laws of other states. Sponsored by Rep. Richard Hudson (R NC), this bill would require states that have gun control laws in place to honor the laws of another state with laxer or even no such laws when gun-toting individuals with permits cross into their territory.

Prompted by the case in 2013 of Shanteen Allen, a Pennsylvania resident with a concealed carry permit who was arrested for carrying a gun in New Jersey, this bill has both heavy-hitting supporters and very passionate detractors.

States’ rights defenders are strong in opposition. Rep. Hudson likens the bill to the reciprocity of states in recognizing the validity of out-of-state driver’s licenses. His comparison ignores the fact that the states agreed among themselves to accept each other’s driving licenses. If Hudson and the concealed carry reciprocity supporters prevail, it will be the result not of states agreeing to it but of the federal government forcing it upon them.

In defense of his bill, Hudson has said, “Even the most careful and knowledgeable concealed carry permit holders find it difficult to navigate the current maze of state and local concealed carry laws.”

Does that sound even vaguely familiar? Have individuals on sexual offense registries found it difficult to navigate the maze of laws governing the registry as they travel?

Bringing it even closer in line with our advocacy is an email NARSOL recently received from a woman about her brother.

According to her narrative, this gentleman had been registered in New Jersey and had completed his term of registration. He had been off of that state’s registry for two years when he traveled to Florida. In Florida he somehow came to the attention of the authorities. They initially told him to leave the state immediately or register with them; he left immediately, that very day, in fact. In spite of that, Florida is now seeking the return of the gentleman to Florida so that he may be forced to register with them as a sexual offender.

Sounds like we could use some reciprocity.

Perhaps Rep. Hudson could see fit to sponsor such a bill. If confusion of laws and people being made criminals “just by crossing state lines” warrants forcing states to accept the concealed carry gun permits from other states, surely the same argument holds in regard to sexual offense registries.

At the very least, it warrants having a dialogue about it.

Disclaimer: NARSOL takes no position on the issues of gun control or gun control laws.

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Sandy is communications director for NARSOL, editor-in-chief of the Digest, and a writer for the Digest and the NARSOL website. Additionally, she participates in updating and managing the website and assisting with a variety of organizational tasks.

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