As per TMCV’s announcement last night, this morning the office of Congressman Bruce Poliquin issued a press release detailing his co-sponsorship of H.R.986. This bill is similar to Senate Bill sponsored by Texas Senator John Cornyn which attempts to standardize reciprocity between States which have a concealed carry permit system for firearms. With the push for constitutional carry nationwide, States and the Feds are wrestling with the complexities of State sovereignty and the impact Constitutional Carry has on reciprocity across the Country,
Sources within Congressman Poliquin’s office have informed TMCV that tomorrow morning Poliquin will announce that he is an original co-sponsor of a bill, H.R. 986, “To amend title 18, United States Code, to provide a means by which nonresidents of a State whose residents may carry concealed firearms may also do so in the State.” This bill is similar to a bill in the Senate, sponsored by John Cornyn of Texas. These bills attempt to provide reciprocity for all the States that have concealed carry laws.
TMCV was able to obtain this information after we contacted the Congressman in regards to the column I posted this morning analyzing the Constitutional Carry bill, which is being sponsored by Senator Eric Brakey, where I referenced Senator Cornyn’s bill at the National level. I asked Poliquin if he supported Cornyn’s bill. He replied that he did. That it was, in his words, a “no brainer”.
Soon afterwards TMCV received information from Poliquin’s staff on H.R. 986, his original sponsorship, and the bones of the bill. The bill, which is endorsed by the NRA, seeks to ensure that “ valid concealed carry permits issued in one State are for carrying concealed handguns in other States that recognize their own residents’ right to concealed carry”. The language in H.R. 986 works to protect the sovereignty of each State to deal with its own permits and regulations for firearms. The bill contains The Firearm’s Protection Act that protects citizens from unwarranted arrest, putting a clear burden on the State to show that the person did not comply with the law. This bill would also make Concealed Carry a judicially enforceable act, a civil right. It would also award attorney and court fees to plaintiffs and defendants, who win their cases, and provides opportunity for persons unjustly arrested to sue for damages.
Look for the formal announcement on Poliquin’s website tomorrow morning.
Maine Senator Eric Brakey has introduced a Bill to the legislature that would make Maine a Constitutional Carry State. The idea behind this measure is an idea I support. Still, this bill must be approached carefully as to avoid unintended consequences, specifically in the area of reciprocity.
To date, Maine is an Open Carry State. This means a resident of Maine may carry a firearm exposed on their person without a permit. A resident may not carry a concealed firearm in this State without a permit. Senator Brakey’s bill would eliminate the need for a permit to conceal a firearm in the State of Maine.
Reciprocity is a political and legal term, which refers to process to where States honor, uphold, and enforce laws from other States within their sovereign borders. For gun owners, it means that possessing a concealed weapons permit in Maine also means that they can carry a concealed weapon in a State that reciprocates, or honors that permit. Therein lies the rub for gun owners in the State of Maine.
If Maine simply changes to a Constitutional Carry State, legislators may unwittingly nullify reciprocity for the many concealed weapon permit holders in Maine, who use their permits in their travels to other States. This makes them vulnerable to prosecution now in States that do not reciprocate Constitutional Carry in their borders. Hopefully, Senator Brakey has addressed this in his legislation.
If not, there is a simple solution. Amend the bill so it continues to allow for the Concealed Weapon process should the resident choose to apply, thereby maintaining reciprocity with those States that honor the permit. Clearly stipulate in the language that Constitutional Carry applies only to the borders of the State of Maine and its residents by their choice.
Common Sense dictates that not all States will agree with our stance on Constitutional Carry. With John Cornyn of Texas proposing legislation that will standardize reciprocity for concealed weapon permits for all 50 States, it is important that we maintain a pathway that allows Maine residents to provide for their personal defense wherever they may travel. A measured and thoughtful approach, as always, will yield the best solution for the people of Maine. Let’s Set Maine Free!