Momentum For Concealed Carry Growing Nationwide

Momentum For Concealed Carry Growing Nationwide
— Alaska becomes the next state to adopt Vermont-style carry!

(Friday, June 27, 2003) — Gun control proponents are continuing to lose key battles across the country, as citizens in a growing number of states can now carry firearms concealed.

The most significant victory occurred recently in the Land of the Midnight Sun, where citizens don’t need concealed carry permits anymore.

Alaska’s governor signed a bill this month modeled after the famous Vermont law, which allows citizens to carry firearms concealed without first getting screened or fingerprinted.

No fees. No waiting periods. No invasive background checks. No requirement to be fingerprinted like common sex offenders.

Citizens can now carry freely in most places in Alaska without first getting a state-issued permit.

GOA Involved In Pushing Vermont-Style Carry

Several gun rights groups helped push the bill into law, including Gun Owners of America, which mobilized its members on two occasions during the bill’s journey toward becoming law.

The bill had 33 co-sponsors (from both chambers) and passed on a veto-proof vote of 28 to 12 in the House and 12 to 8 in the Senate. Alaska Governor Frank Murkowski (R) had no real choice but to sign the bill or face an embarrassing veto override vote during the next legislative session.

Alaska’s carry law is by far the best one to emerge out of a state legislature this year. Four other state legislatures have recently passed concealed carry laws, although final action is still pending in two of them.

Based on information found at the website, there are now 35 states which are either shall-issue states or free carry states, like Vermont and Alaska.

(A “shall-issue” state refers to a state where citizens desiring to carry concealed MUST be issued permits if they pass background checks showing they are not criminals. These laws represent an improvement over laws that give public officials discretion to deny honest citizens their rights without cause. Even so, many of these shall-issue states still impose very burdensome requirements such as mandatory training, mandatory fingerprinting, and No Safety Zones.)

Bill Would Grant Full Benefits To Alaskans And Vermonters

Alaska’s new law gives impetus to passing real reciprocity legislation at the federal level.

Rep. John Hostettler (R-IN) is the sponsor of H.R. 990, a bill which protects the right of citizens to carry their firearms into other states. His bill currently has 46 cosponsors.

Hostettler’s bill has a huge advantage over other reciprocity bills in that it does not punish states for being too pro-gun. His bill would not punish citizens from states like Alaska and Vermont, because his proposal doesn’t require a citizen to first get a permit to enjoy reciprocity in another state.

It’s interesting to note that even while Alaska was moving towards Vermont-style freedom, officials in the state felt it was important to keep the existing permit system in place. The twist is that Alaskans are no longer required to get the permit to carry.

The governor’s office told the Anchorage Daily News that some citizens might still choose to get a permit so they can carry firearms in other states.

And this highlights the problems with some federal bills that will ONLY establish reciprocity between gun control states. These bills force people to jump through officially-mandated hurdles and get carry permits before they can carry firearms into neighboring states.

H.R. 990 Is Vermont-Friendly

By contrast, H.R. 990 would allow law-abiding citizens who can legally carry in their home state — even without a permit — to carry all across the country.

Hostettler’s bill essentially treats concealed carry permits similar to driver’s licenses — and citizens from Vermont and Alaska will be able to carry concealed without a permit.

Assumably, a driver’s license would be enough for those citizens to show they are eligible to carry — the benefit being that such gun owners would only be registered as car owners, not gun owners.

Hostettler’s bill will also accommodate other states, as they move towards adopting real concealed carry laws. Vermont and Alaska now have the best carry laws in the country… 2 down, 48 to go.

ACTION: Please ask your Representative to cosponsor H.R. 990, the Secure Access to Firearms Enhancement (SAFE) Act of 2003. This Hostettler bill will guarantee Americans the ability to carry firearms from one state into the next. You can visit the Gun Owners Legislative Action Center at to see if your Representative is currently a cosponsor and to send him or her a pre-written e-mail message if not. (The Take Action Now feature at the above URL will help you automatically send the message, but it is reproduced below for your convenience.)

—— Pre-written message ——

Dear Representative:

I hope that you will cosponsor H.R. 990, the Secure Access to Firearms Enhancement (SAFE) Act of 2003.

Murder rates have been falling across the country in recent years, as more and more states are making it easier for citizens to carry firearms.

This should come as no surprise since studies show that guns in good people’s hands are a deterrent to criminals and, ultimately, save lives.

There are now 35 states which make it relatively easy for their citizens to carry firearms. Most notably, Alaska just recently amended its laws to allow law-abiding citizens to carry firearms without a permit, and, in doing so, has put criminals on notice that they face a dangerous existence in the Land of the Midnight Sun.

H.R. 990 will allow citizens who are authorized to carry in their home states to travel safely into other states. We desperately need a law like this, since the right to keep and bear arms should not end at one’s state border.

Again, I urge you to cosponsor H.R. 990. Please let me know what you intend to do. Thank you.



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