Introducing Gun Laws by State, 2012 Edition: Part III

The Reciprocal Carry Conundrum: Part III

With Tens of Thoughts of Laws On The Books, How Can You Locate and Follow Laws of Another State For Reciprocal Carry?

Before GLBS (, there were but a few books and on-line resources providing a patchwork of coverages to address some aspect of this question. There are some good state-specific guides, and a variety of on-line forums and other sources that cover a specific and general topic, such as whether one state is reciprocal with another state (i.e., it recognizes another state’s license for carry in that state as if it were its own license).

Determining reciprocal carry, unfortunately, has often been viewed as the end of the legal analysis: “If my state, State Y, has reciprocity with the state I am traveling to, State X, I am good to go! This seems logical. However, the firearms’ culture of another state, from written laws to unwritten custom and practices, may vary widely.

These differences if not understood and followed may result in having your gun confiscated, losing your license in your state of issuance, civil suit, or maybe even criminal charges. Fighting such a battle on your best day is an expensive and time consuming process. So determining reciprocity only is the recipe for disaster.

So knowing the controlling laws of each state you will carry in, or merely travel through with a handgun for reciprocal carry in another state, is not an option or choice, it is necessity

To date, even finding these laws–let alone understanding them–has been a daunting task for those with legal education or a keen interest in the topic, requiring you to locate and review at least each of the following legal resources containing firearms laws:

  • United States Code
  • Code of Federal Regulations
  • ATF Ruling and Open Letters.
  • United States Supreme Court Decisions.
  • Federal Circuit Court Decisions.
  • TSA/Amtrak Requirements (or Federal Statues on Interstate Carry).
  • State Codes.
  • State Administrative Regulations.
  • Attorney General Rulings (or those of similar branches of state government charged with regulating firearms).
  • Reported caselaw (interpreting and applying firearms’ statutes).
  • Local ordinances (particularly where there is not (or limited) state-based preemption in the field (i.e., if local government can regulation firearms and to what extent).

Gun Laws by State book coverNow there is a short-cut: GLBS. GLBS provides you with an organizational framework of the sources of law and queries to make. GLBS also provides lists of the most common legal rules with reciprocal carry, explains how federal law overlaps, orients the right to possession of a firearm to the constitutional support, if any, and sets out the nature and scope of state pre-emption.

The riddle untangled. With this, an understanding of how local, state and federal laws fit together and how to check your research is what stands between you and a meaningful, systematic way to engage in lawful reciprocal carry. In other words, while GLBS is not a substitute for your own verification and research or a proxy for your reciprocal carry, it is the key!

This blog post is written by Bryan L. Ciyou, Ciyou & Dixon, P.C., Indianapolis, Indiana. This blog is not a solicitation for legal services.

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