Sean Reyes, Utah’s Republican attorney general, wants people with a concealed-carry permit to be able to legally carry a concealed gun in any state, according to a letter he and over 20 other Republican attorneys general sent to Congress on Friday.
States currently pass their own laws deciding whether to recognize a concealed-carry permit from another state.
All but two Republican attorneys general suggested laws that prevent the nation’s more than 16 million concealed-weapons permit holders from carrying outside their home state infringe on the Second Amendment.
“Authorizing permit holders to carry across state lines will not result in an increased risk of crime,” the 24 attorneys general wrote. “Concealed carry permit holders are among the most law abiding members of society, and those states that allow for reciprocal concealed carry permits have not encountered any significant safety issues.”
The letter was touted in a press release Friday from the National Rifle Association, which is backing congressional action on reciprocity.
Utah already recognizes permits from every state that issues them. Typically, though, the country’s reciprocity laws vary state-to-state. Some states accept all permits. Others accept only the permits of residents from certain states, but not non-residents with permits.
Permits from Utah aren’t recognized in Oregon, California, New Mexico, most East Coast states, Illinois and Michigan, according to the National Rifle Association.
But other states recognize Utah’s permit, resulting in its popularity nationwide. Most of the thousands of permits issued each year in the state go to non-residents.
Twenty-four of 26 Republican attorneys general co-signed the letter, which was written by Missouri Attorney General Joshua Hawley. Colorado Attorney General Cynthia Coffman, who recently joined her state’s 2018 gubernatorial race, and Tennessee Attorney General Henry Slatery didn’t sign the letter and didn’t respond to a request for comment.
“Our states have chosen to respect the rights of residents and non-residents alike to carry arms for their defense, the letter reads. “We ask Congress to protect the same rights of our law-abiding residents as they travel throughout the United States.”